Eastern Market slaughterhouse threatened with closure amid animal cruelty violations

Berry and Sons Islamic Slaughter House van beside the carcass-filled dumpster in Eastern Market. Steve Neavling/MCM
A Berry and Sons Islamic Slaughter House van beside a carcass-filled dumpster in Eastern Market. Steve Neavling/MCM

An Eastern Market slaughterhouse that has been illegally dumping rotting lamb carcasses inside a dumpster along Gratiot was shut down twice last year for animal cruelty and threatened with permanent closure in September. Buy plavix 75mg

A review of USDA inspection reports shows that Berry and Sons Islamic Slaughter House has a long history of problems that range from the “inhumane treatment of animals” to questionable purchasing decisions. Buy premarin 0.625mg

USDA inspectors temporarily halted operations at the Halal slaughterhouse in June and September following separate “egregious violations,” inspection reports show.

In June, an inspector spotted an employee grabbing a small lamb by the neck and tossing it “airborne until it landed on its side in the truck bed, staggered, and then stood.” Buy strattera 40mg

The Slaughterhouse is at
The Slaughterhouse is at 2496 Orleans St.

Just one week after the cruelty case was closed in September, an inspector observed the mishandling of two disabled sheep, at least one of which had been trampled by some of the other animals. According to the inspector, one of the sheep was so badly injured that employees thought it was dead. But after realizing the sheep was still breathing, employees tried to carry the animal “holding onto it only by the wool.”

It has been determined that you have not designed, developed, and implemented a robust systematic approach for the humane handling of animals at your establishment and do not have a recent history of regulatory compliance,” the USDA wrote in a sharply worded letter. “Further, FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) has provided you with numerous opportunities to implement effective corrective and preventive actions to ensure compliance with Agency statutory and regulatory requirements, but these measures have proved inadequate. This indicates that your establishment may be unwilling or unable to execute the humane handling and slaughter of livestock procedures in a manner that ensures all animals received for slaughter at your establishment are handled humanely.”

The USDA said it was considering whether to permanently suspend operations at the slaughterhouse, which does big business and has been operating at the Eastern Market since 1973. USDA records indicate that Berry and Sons Islamic Slaughter House spends up to $2 million on nearly 20,000 animals to butcher a year.

Berry and Sons also has four butcher shops in metro Detroit.  The slaughterhouse is at 2496 Orleans St. at the Eastern Market.

On Sunday, we published photos of rotting lamb carcasses in a dumpster plainly visible by motorists on Gratiot. The stench was so strong that it could be smelled blocks away.

The story has prompted a state investigation. 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.

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.