On Oct. 13, the Town of Loxahatchee Groves and Palm Beach County became ground zero for the largest animal cruelty bust in U.S. history. Two of the three illegal slaughterhouses raided were in the Groves. There may be at least six more still operating.
The evil, heartless individuals arrested, and others like them, hide in agricultural areas and attempt to use the Right to Farm Act to carry out their crimes. They violated this act in many ways, including, but not limited to, the improper dumping of animal waste. Law enforcement can only make arrests, and it took years to make these happen.
Town Manager Bill Underwood took a proactive approach and had placed on the Oct. 20 council agenda an item to discuss creating a workgroup to review slaughterhouses and possibly consider eliminating them.
At the beginning of the meeting, the council removed two items from the agenda: a recreational vehicle resolution and the slaughterhouse review. Then, toward the end of the meeting, Councilman Jim Rockett brought back and engaged in a lengthy discussion of recreational vehicles. Yet he, nor any other councilman, did not do anything to begin the simplest discussion of addressing the animal cruelty and “illegal” status of slaughterhouses within our community. There was no discussion of what can be done to confirm slaughterhouses are operating legally, complying with health codes, disposing of waste properly, or at minimum have a business tax receipt. There was no mention of bringing in the USDA to update the town staff or code enforcement on current requirements.
As one concerned resident put it, the turtle is part of our logo, and these councilmen have decided to pull their heads into their shells.
Virginia Standish, Loxahatchee Groves