Action Alert From CCI:
CCI members reviewed and released 218 documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act request regarding proposed Prestage slaughterhouse
Des Moines, IA. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) are demanding that the Mason City City Councilors vote no on the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse after leaving citizens in the dark.
Following an initial review of public records regarding the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse, which were obtained from the City of Mason City through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, it is clear that city officials went to great lengths to keep the public out of the decision-making process.
Based on this initial review, it is clear to CCI that:
The city intended to rush this project because Prestage is “on a fast track” and the “sooner we get it done the better,” according to an email string between Governor Branstad’s Economic Development Authority and city officials, as well as a handwritten note from an internal city meeting. While city leaders discussed the project for months, the public was deliberately kept in the dark due to concerns about opposition.
The rezoning of the new Southside Gateway Urban Renewal Area was quietly initiated just 12 days after the city was approached about the Prestage slaughterhouse for the purpose of “[providing] TIF incentives for the new pork production plant.” Yet, the city made no mention of Prestage, making it impossible for the public to truly weigh in on the rezoning process.
City councilors are aware of the potential explosion of factory farm construction in North Central Iowa and the problems associated with the factory farm industry. In an email to city councilors, Chad Shrek, President and CEO of the North Iowa Corridor, glossed over the impact of the Prestage slaughterhouse. Yet the same email cites industry analyst Steve Meyer, saying, “filling the five plants (Mason City, Iowa; Coldwater, Mich.; Sioux City, Iowa; Windom, Minn.; and Pleasant Hope, Mo.) being built or remodeled at present would take roughly 9.625 million head of hogs or 8.3 percent more than last year’s slaughter.” This shows that the city knows the implications of the Prestage slaughterhouse to the area.
CCI invites the public to review the 218 FOIA documents, which includes email correspondences, handwritten notes, site plans, project documents, meeting notes, etc. Documents can be viewed online by clicking here.
“This shows that we can’t trust the city councilors. They’ve already made their decision before listening to what the public has to say,” said Dillion Daniels, a Mason City resident. “We’re still calling on them to do the right thing.”
Prestage Farms is a privately held, out-of-state corporation and the nation’s 5th largest pork producer. It currently operates 142 factory farms in Iowa. Its proposed slaughterhouse in Mason City, which would kill up to 22,000 hogs per day, will mean more factory farms and more pollution in Iowa at the expense of independent family farmers, taxpayers, and quality of life.
The Mason City City Council will take its final vote on the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse at its meeting on Tuesday, May 3. CCI members and community members will attend this final hearing to demand that the City Council vote against approving this project.