A moment of Pride for Jains of America

March, 2022 by Kamal Shah

Strauss Brands operates a meat packing facility in the city of Frankly, Wisconsin. The company has been in operation for the last 50 years in the Milwaukee suburb. Two years ago, A private equity firm purchased Strauss. They decided to expand operations and proposed a 152,000 square foot kill facility, with an additional 130,000 sq. ft. of cold storage. This would bring the total size of their facility to over 280,000 sq. ft. This would have resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of additional animals per day, initially, with no stated upward limit as to how many animals could be killed daily going forward.

In partnership with a local organization, Franklin Community Advocates (FCA), our Jain group worked tirelessly to oppose the expanded facility, put Ahimsa in action, and help defend the community.

In late 2020, the Franklin Common Council first denied Strauss Brands the permit to develop their new facility, after hearing considerable opposition from local residents. Just two weeks later, one council member altered her vote, and the city approved the permit. FCA filed a suit against the city for violation of due process. Throughout the litigation, the Jain community stood with the local volunteers to ensure our voices were heard. The court ordered the council to hold another public hearing on the project, which took place on February 17th of this year. Several members of the Jain community spoke up during the meeting and the press has extensively covered the proceedings since the beginning.

To our surprise and relief, before the hearing began, we learned Strauss had decided to withdraw its application to build the new facility! The company announced it would sell the parcel of land and abandon its efforts in Franklin. We were overjoyed!

Unfortunately, our excitement was short-lived. The city continued the planning commission meeting and ultimately approved a permit for a slaughterhouse, even without a named applicant. This is a very unusual step and again, rules were changed by those in power to get their way. We believe the mayor is planning to attract another meat processing company to the city despite the overwhelming opposition from his own constituents.

We are continuing our efforts to stop any slaughterhouse from coming into this community by all possible means. We intend to proceed with the case in state court and seek other avenues to enjoin the city from its deceptive practices. From our Jain values, the killing must stop no matter who does it. We cannot and will not let our guard down.

There are about 50 Jain families who live in this community. On the critical issue of JIVADAYA, we came together and opposed the expansion of the slaughterhouse. Over the last two years, we have overcome many challenges together, but through our unity and activism, we saved the lives of tens of thousands of animals from slaughter while the legal process played out. The recent developments reaffirm that our cause is just, and we will stay the course.

Click on the pdf for Dave Sorenson’s writeup of the contribution by Jains:

About Author

Kamal Shah

kamalshah318@gmail.com

Kamal Shah has served as the president of the Jain Religious Center of Wisconsin (JRCW) since 2001 when the close-knit community built their derasar and formally established the local Jain organization. There are approximately 55 Jain families that participate in regular services and events that mainly come from the metropolitan areas between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. Kamal and the Jain community have sought opportunities to put Ahimsa in action through charitable drives, community organizing campaigns, and now a concerted effort to close the slaughterhouse to save the lives of thousands of animals. Professionally, Kamal is the principal of his own health insurance consulting firm.

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Vijay Phade
Vijay Phade
2 years ago

This is great work for Jain Dharma
Ahimsa Parmodharmaha:
Dhamasah Mulam Daya: