Animal rights activists hold vigil against slaughterhouse practice


About 30 people held a brief vigil last Friday in downtown Flushing against what they say are health violations taking place at slaughterhouses.  

The vigil came after two videos taken on March 18 at 131-57 Fowler Avenue that is home to Twelve Baskets Inc, a slaughterhouse that houses animals such as chicken to sell. Philly Stallone and Katerina Trabazo began filming an unknown worker depositing black bags alleged to have animal remains on the sidewalk.

Trabazo, a Jackson Heights resident and a vegan, explained that, as Philly held the camera, she went down the steps to a separate slaughterhouse downstairs (QCP could not verify the name of the place). There she saw an animal that she believed was a bull held down with rope. Then she called out to Stallone to film what was happening.

The slaughterhouse at 131-57 Fowler Avenue. Photo by Brandon Jordan.

In the other video, Stallone is filming the slaughter of the animal with a crowd of men, women, and children surrounding the spectacle. As he begins to record, a few people notice the camera and an unknown male tells him he cannot take a video at the request of owners. The two later leave.

Trabazo said she felt tense and nervous over what transpired. She recalled people laughing during the ordeal, which she found disturbing.

“I don’t know, if you look closely at the video, on the left-hand side, there’s the remains of other animals prior to that,” Trabazo said. “They never threw that away. They’re just sitting there. I was just shocked at their reaction because we know they’re being killed anyway.”

Stallone is a Flushing resident and grew up near the neighborhood. He remembered going to the Western Beef located right behind the building with Twelve Baskets Inc. A vegan himself, Stallone believed lawmakers should address these types of stores throughout the city by implementing legislation. He added that shutting them down would be a step forward.

“The only true way is to do away this,” Stallone said. “To shut live markets down or else we’ll turn a blind eye to what’s going on.”

City Council Member Peter Koo

Activists submitted the videos to the office of City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone), but did not get a reply (QCP confirmed the videos were sent to his office).

David Ustav, who owns the building these slaughterhouses are located, highlighted that these businesses are “legal” and can operate without much concern. He wasn’t aware of the videos and added that he is not behind the companies that occupy the premises.

He also noted that animal rights activists often come every so often, since he worked at these facilities for 17 years.

QCP discovered a warning by the USDA’s Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit on August 3, 2017, according to government data. The USDA cannot release details of this warning without a Freedom of Information Act request.

At the vigil, Heather Greenhouse, a Board of Director with the animal advocacy group Voters For Animal Rights, recalled the owner of Twelve Baskets Inc. calling the police, who were present during the event. Nothing else transpired during the day events.

The offices of Peter Koo and State Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, and Murray Hill) did not respond by press time.

More from Around New York