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Rancho Reborn

Petaluma eye-cancer slaughterhouse re-opens under new ownership

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With the closing of Rancho Veal in February, the large agricultural community of the North Bay was left without a slaughterhouse. That is, until Marin Sun Farms owner David Evans stepped in with his plan to save the livelihood of ranchers, including his own, when he bought the Petaluma processing plant on Feb. 28. The plant began operations under new ownership this week, with a small animal-rights protest marking the grand opening.

Marin Sun has been approved to process beef and pork, and they say they'll be able to process lamb and goats "in the near future," according to a press release. They're also aiming for organic certification by the end of the year. This is big news for several farms in the Bay Area who currently have no options for organic slaughter. Many, like Bodega's Salmon Creek Ranch, raise their animals on certified organic land with certified organic feed, but haven't had access to a certified organic slaughter facility to be able to label their product "Certified Organic" under United States Department of Agriculture standards.

It's no surprise that Marin Sun bought the facility. In a 2011 Bay Citizen article (which was also printed in the New York Times), Evans said that if Rancho Veal closed, "the alternatives are too far away to be recognizably viable," and that his "contingency plan" was to purchase the slaughterhouse if it were going under. Looks like the Nostradamus of meat was on the money.—Nicolas Grizzle

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