In the 1800s and early 1900s, Islais Creek would run red with blood and entrails as animals were killed in nearby Butchertown — located between the present-day Bayview and Dogpatch neighborhoods.
While returning to those gory days seems unlikely, a decision by the San Francisco Planning Commission in November will allow a slaughterhouse to come back to the Bayview District.
National halal-certified chain Saba Live Poultry is preparing to sell freshly killed chickens at 1526 Wallace Ave., near Third Street and the demolished Candlestick Park. The family-run business from New York has nine other locations, including one in Oakland.
Saba typically butchers and sells other animals like veal, lamb, goat, and rabbits, but would be limited to poultry in San Francisco. It’s unclear just how much livestock they would be processing at the proposed Bayview facility — a factor in the calls for an environmental impact report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
The halal process is considered more humane and adheres to Islamic standards of killing animals. The slaughterer must bless the animals with a prayer before being killed by a single cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery, and windpipe.
But attention has been drawn to how Saba has treated its animals across the Bay. In October, protesters took over its Oakland facility to spotlight questionable conditions — with images taken by organizers from Direct Action Everywhere showing live bunnies standing atop dead ones, and live poultry thrown in the trash with the carcasses of others.
Of the conditions that came with the Planning Department’s authorization, none are related to the handling of animals. Instead, Saba has three years to seek a building or site permit, which must include odor and noise control equipment.
With this green light, one company of a long-lost San Francisco industry will return, and the halal diners of the city will have a local source.