Despite backlash from neighboring businesses, halal slaughterhouse approved


On April 23, Sandy Modell, owner of Wholistic Hound Academy in Alexandria, is hosting her third annual Love Your Pet block party on Colvin Street.

Modell says she expects this year’s party to be a little smellier. As of Tuesday, Colvin Street will be welcoming Saba Halal Live Poultry, a 20-year-old family-owned business with locations in six states around the country.

Halal chicken is prepared in the name of God. The chicken’s blood is completely drained, and owner Abdul Mused says the chickens are killed humanely.

Saba Halal collected zip code data from its customers and determined many were coming from the Northern Virginia area. Mused says the closest place to buy halal chicken is in Warrenton, over 100 miles away. Without a slaughterhouse nearby, Muslims take halal into their own hands.

“People buy chickens from farms and they process them in their homes, in their bathrooms, in their kitchens,” said Mused. 

Modell says she and neighboring businesses are concerned about smell and noise, and what that will do to customer recidivism. Mused insists the business is only noisy and smelly from the inside, but Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker concluded otherwise.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday, Bennett-Parker shared her findings from a trip to Philadelphia, in which she surveyed local businesses. Bennett-Parker reported the smells were nearly “unbearable” in the summer months.

“He’s not going to be able to contain the smells and the noises inside that building,” said Modell. 

Both business owners say they are willing to work together for the sake of customer satisfaction, but Modell says it’s the city council that’s warranted a one-star review.

“This neighborhood is changing slowly,” said Modell. “But it’s changing. And they failed to look at the uses that are here and how those uses would be impacted.” 

The special use permit was approved on the condition odors be sealed. Doors and windows at the slaughterhouse are required to remain closed at all times. 

Before returning to New York, Mused says he visited neighboring businesses and showed them photos of his other locations. “The councilmembers did their job and they did what they’re supposed to do,” said Mused. “I’m looking forward to working with my neighbors because I’ll be stuck with them all my life.” 

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