‘I can hear birds screaming’: Lawsuit claims Chicago poultry market is a public nuisance

WGN Investigates

CHICAGO — Chicago was once known as the “hog butcher to the world.” These days there are roughly a dozen slaughterhouses licensed to operate in the city and most do so far from the public eye.  

That’s not the case in the trendy Bucktown neighborhood where a family owned store that sells chickens, ducks, quail and other animal meat so fresh it was alive just before the sale.

“I can hear the birds screaming and crying, it’s miserable,” Meghan Boyles said. Boyles is a 22-year-old DePaul graduate who moved in next to Ciales Poultry in the 2100 Block of West Armitage Avenue last year. Even though the store’s owner is her landlord, she insists she had no idea before she moved in that poultry was being killed steps from her apartment.

“If I’m in my living room on the couch, I can hear it loud and clear which is why I put up this foam wall; but it barely works,” she said.

Boyles has now teamed up with the animal rights group Slaughter Free Chicago which recorded video of the late night deliveries of live chickens. 

“The intention is to expose what’s happening in our own backyards and pressure city officials to enforce their own laws,” said Robert Grillo of Slaughter Free Chicago. 

A new lawsuit claims the poultry purveyor is a public nuisance and is violating a city ordinance saying slaughter facilities can’t operate within 200 feet of private residences.

“This is not simply about animals and abuse that happens,” attorney Jordan Maty saids.  “It’s a threat to the neighborhood with bacteria and all the other contaminates they carry.”

Ciales Poultry is a family-owned market that has existed for decades. 

“I say they should go protest and Jewels or Marianos,” Frankie Perez, who identified himself as the owner’s son, said. And the city appears to be siding with the store. 

Watch the full report in the video player above.

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