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City Shuts Down West Ridge Live Animal Market After Failed Health Inspection Finds Sewage Backup, No Refrigeration

The failed health inspection comes after an anti-cruelty group "flooded" the city with complaints about local storefront slaughterhouses.

Chicago Live Poultry's license has been pulled after failing a health violation.
Slaughter Free Chicago
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WEST RIDGE — A live animal market in West Ridge was shut down late last month after a failed health inspection in what one anti-cruelty group is labeling as a victory for the city’s public health.

Chicago Live Poultry, 6421 N. Western Ave., was shuttered on April 22 after a health inspection found a number of violations at the so-called storefront slaughterhouse, said Erica Duncan, information coordinator for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The business’ license was suspended after inspectors found sewage backup on the premises, Duncan said. The market also was cited for having no refrigeration for animal products.

After a manager was informed poultry was being improperly stored in an 85-degree prep area, employees then gave the product to customers instead of throwing it out, inspection data shows.

The inspection at Chicago Live Poultry was prompted by a complaint, city data shows. The business was also inspected on Jan. 3 and passed.

Health inspectors visited at least one other live animal business recently prompted by a complaint, but John’s Live Poultry in Belmont Cragin passed its April 3 inspection, records show.

Chicago Live Poultry will be able to re-open if it passes a follow-up inspection, Duncan said. A representative of the market could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The failed inspection comes after a group called Slaughter Free Chicago “flooded” city offices with complaints about animal slaughter facilities in Chicago, said Robert Grillo, founder of the group.

Slaughter Free Chicago has been working to rid Chicago of its remaining commercial-scale and storefront slaughterhouses. The Edgewater-based group has produced a video that they say show health code and environmental infractions at the storefront facilities. (WARNING: video shows graphic footage).

The campaign to close the slaughterhouses and animal markets has been re-energized by the coronavirus pandemic, Grillo said. It is widely believed the the novel coronavirus originated in a live animal market in China. Animal-to-human transmissions have caused pandemics before, including the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

In the United States, slaughterhouses have become coronavirus hotbeds, leading to a slowdown of meat production and product shortages in some areas. President Donald Trump has recently ordered slaughterhouses to remain open during the pandemic.

The conditions at public-facing slaughterhouses, while not contributing to the coronavirus outbreak, can have negative health consequences for the city, Grillo said.

“During this pandemic, it’s crazy to have these places open,” he said.

Chicago Live Poultry has been a longtime staple of West Ridge’s Devon Avenue commercial corridor, offering fresh poultry products using Halal and Kosher-friendly methods.

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