Rotting lamb carcasses from Eastern Market slaughterhouse spew out gag-inducing stench

A dumpster is filled to the brim with rotting lamb carcasses at the Eastern Market.
A dumpster is filled to the brim with rotting lamb carcasses at the Eastern Market. Steve Neavling/MCM

The stench was so foul that I vomited.

A dumpster at the Eastern Market was brimming with scores of rotting lamb carcasses Sunday afternoon, plainly visible to motorists along Gratiot Avenue in what is a clear violation of state law and a risk to public health. The Bodies of Dead Animals Act of 1982 requires carcasses to be burned, buried or passed off to a licensed processor within 24 hours of being slaughtered.

Eastern MarketWitnesses said the dumpster has been full of lamb carcasses for several weeks – or longer – but it’s unclear how often they are being picked up. Images from Google Maps appear to show the dumpster full of animal carcasses in October 2014.

Whatever the case, the stench could induce gags from Gratiot.

It wasn’t immediately clear who is responsible. Parked outside the dumpster was a van for Berry and Sons Islamic Slaughter House, which butchers lamb, beef and goat in a building behind the lot at 2496 Orleans St. The business didn’t return calls for comment.

We have notified the state and city of the carcasses. Within minutes, Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration sent out a worker to examine the mess.

Check back for updates.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Pedro

    As a resident who lives RIGHT NEXT DOOR to this business i must say… There have been NO rancid smells in the past 3 years, none.. even during the summer months. The anecdotal graphic language of this article is very misleading and has lessened the author’s credibility in my eyes. The issue at hand being the disposal of carcasses in 24 hours… I don’t think its okay to violate federal law but this article is smellier than the dumpster its based on.

  • jcd0101

    hmm interesting how that the islamic butchers arent held to the same standards

  • Phillip McAllister

    Why does anyone in that city allow this? Deport them, in a suitcase filled with their sheep carcasses.

  • Mark Allen Tunney

    what is going on here? What year are we living in? The stone ages

  • J. Austin

    Imagine the vermin feeding on that mess.

  • Rene’ Thomas

    I pass this everyday and wondered if it was legal; unfortunately could not get a good picture entering the freeway off Gratiot Ave.

  • Deanne Durham

    I saw this in warmer weather lucky you were there when its freezing lol

  • jesssoul

    So if a slaughterhouse pays a disposal company to remove and burn the carcasses, but the company doesn’t pick the carcasses up because, oh, I don’t know, every waste disposal company was late last week after the worst snow in history, you make a big deal out of it. Do you expect them to install an incinerator? It’s a market not a playground for crying out loud.

    • robpollard

      Reading is fundamental:
      “Witnesses said the dumpster has been full of lamb carcasses for several weeks – or longer.”

      It’s not the snow.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        Agreed, sounds like they did not like paying for half empty haul away, and want to get every dollar out of dumpster.

        They should switch their contract to the tip up dumpster with the lid on them if the trash company will let them, no doubt the smell is so nasty, they do not want that foul stuff spilling on their trucks and the driver have to breath it all day, or leak in the cab etc. Even garbage trucks do not want rotting flesh and blood all over their roofs and cargo beds.

        • queenie1

          I know I saw them there at least a month or so ago. I was thinking of all the nice coats and blankets they could make out of them…

    • javierjuanmanuel

      it would stil be a case to fine them. The city, county, state food inspectors do not care what happens to you, only care about the outcome.

      If your roof is leaking on food, they do not say, ohh, ok that started three days ago, and a roofer is comming in a week, by all means, keep preparing food under a leaky roof.

      Ohh the pipes busted, sure, keep the restuarant open with feces on the floor in the back.

      No government agency cares what happens to you. THEY WANT to fine you, per day per incident, they love handing out fines of even 20-30k for one person making one mistake like not wearing a hard hard, using the wrong ladder, etc.

      This place is not special. This is nasty.

      The snow would have slowed things down curbside, trash pick up in areas where people put out bags of trash, not sure why in detroit that would matter, they use the large carts, the truck has about 44 inch tires, it can drive through anything on a flat road, they could drive through 2 ft of water no problem. You pull up to trash cart, push button and hydrolics does all the work.

      Same with dumpster, dude stays in the cab, pulls up to dumpster and hauls away large ones, and tips little ones. Weather does not matter unless its 40 below and trucks wont start. You just drive up, pull a lever, press a button, and go.

    • Deanne Durham

      That’s NOT the case. That dumpster was overflowing back in the summer and I’ve posted a picture to prove it.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        I think people are just not being rational. Some things, some people can do in detroit, if they are the right people, and the crazed mob decides they like them.

        In this case it might be because the Islamic angle? Named Berry, is this black converted to Islam, or NOI ?

        Anyways this is nasty as hell, no one wants the shop to close as people are suggesting, just not have piles of rotting flesh outside for more than say maybe 1 day?

        You store them inside, then schedule many pick ups by the trash company (every other day, every three days what eve) and you put them outside 12-24 hours before pick up.

        A good question is why is this cool, but the hipsters in hamtown want the incinerator shut down which is following all laws, and was there when they moved in?

        Could it be one is seen as big business, owned by whites, one is seen as small business owned by black muslims ? It should not matter !

        • Deanne Durham

          I dont care what race nor color this is nasty and nobody should have to see or smell it

          • javierjuanmanuel

            ohh it does not make it better or worse to me personally, but I notice it matters who owns stuff, sure matters in the public opinion. Same with if the city does it versus a business. Look at blighted homes the city owns, no big deal, if a private business owns them, then its a big crime. Stuff like that sticks out like crazy to me.

            Lets just add that is this was owned by the walton family, no one would be defending them saying, heeey man, its a butcher shop, of course there is scraps. No hey dumb hipsters do not move to industrial area and complain about industry. For instance there are stories on here, basically the exact same thing, but because its hipsters in hamtown, and a big company owns the incinerator, not a small black muslim family business, the multi hundred million dollar incinerator should be closed. Again, this stuff is something I cannot miss.

  • CGietzen

    on friday morning i was cut off by a wolverine packing co. dump truck that was overflowing with some unidentifiable carcass. after viewing these photos i am fairly certain they are the same ones i saw on my way to work.

  • Carol Hackleman

    Thanks for the investigation. Seems that Mohamad Berry is laughing at a civilized society:
    Feds ‘Allege’ Berry & Sons Rababeh Islamic Slaughter House, Inc. Violated Packers and Stockyards Act: 2010

    Don’t expect any action. Cease and Desist Order: 2007

    A family ‘tradition’:

    • bebow

      Maybe he’s just laughing at us.

  • Al Block

    This is very “baaaaa” d. LOL

  • javierjuanmanuel

    This is stupid. Once the dumpster is full, it saves no money to put off removal. It would still be wrong, and still be a bad neighbor to put off removing a 1/4 full dumpster, but at least you could understand them being tight. What does this accomplish?