Stop Strauss Brands from Building a NEW Massive Slaughterhouse!

Stop Strauss Brands from Building a NEW Massive Slaughterhouse!

September 2, 2020
Petition to
City Of Franklin and 10 others
Signatures: 7,317Next Goal: 7,500
Support now

Why this petition matters

The new facility as approved would initially be 152,035 square feet. Strauss also intends to seek an expansion of the new facility in the relatively near future so as to add an additional 112,000 square feet of operational space and an additional 47,000 square foot truck maintenance facility. This is a total of 311,035 square feet, which is in excess of 7 acres of buildings. 

Strauss Brands’ Special Use application was rejected by a vote of 4-2 at the initial vote of the Common Council on October 20, 2020. However, Strauss soon thereafter undertook a vigorous plan to undo that rejection. It met with a key common council member who later made the motion for reconsideration and voted to approve. It continued to work in secret with the City’s Mayor, who continued his effort to expressly disparage and undermine any citizen who objected to the project. 

Since that time, residents have formed a community group and filed a legal complaint. We need your help and support to STOP THIS MASSIVE SLAUGHTERHOUSE

Donations can be made at: 

Case No: 2020CV007031    FILED ON: 12-01-2020 


Timeline of Meetings around Strauss Brands in Franklin, WI

October 8th at 7 p.m. Planning Commission Public Hearing- The Special Use and recommendations were sent to Franklin Common Council. The 120+ page packet was sent out the Friday prior to the Public Hearing. 

  • 1 vote was the City Engineer (VOTED IN FAVOR)
  • 1 vote was the 1st District Alderman, who is a neighbor of the Mayor and was the Mayor's campaign treasurer (VOTED IN FAVOR)
  • 1 vote was excused due to either being excused or the member recusing himself. (DIDN'T VOTE)
  • 1 vote admitted to not even reading the packet provided to her, but said "whatever" (VOTED IN FAVOR)
  • 1 vote stated he visited the current Strauss facility in Franklin prior to the meeting. Opposition didn't muster enough motivation for him to have doubts. "(Strauss') answers, and overall approach to this application, was more compelling to me than their opponents' concerns." (VOTED IN FAVOR)
  • 1 vote stated he first could read up and learn about this project in detail....the day he got his packet several days before the meeting. Had many questions and concerns and felt uncomfortable with voting with so many issues he saw unanswered or not thoroughly reviewed due to the short timetable (VOTED AGAINST)

October 15th at 6:00 p.m. Strauss Brands held a Town Hall event to downplay concerns

October 20th at 6:30 p.m. the Special Use was voted down by Franklin Common Council with a vote of 4-2 (Mayer, Wilhelm, Hannemann, Nelson voted against and Dandrea and Barber in favor)

November 2nd at 6:30 p.m. the Special Use denial from 10/20 was brought back for reconsideration by Aldw. Hannemann and ultimately approved by Franklin Common Council with a vote of 3-3 and Mayor Olson breaking the tie. Alderpeople Mayer, Wilhelm, and Nelson voted against and Dandrea, Hannemann and Barber voted in favor and alignment with Mayor Olson.



The purpose of this petition is to notify all parties listed that we do not want Strauss Brands to be allowed to “expand” existing operations to the southeast corner of Hwy. H (old Ryan Road) and Hwy. 36 just behind the Irish Cottage in Franklin, WI.


The negative impacts including; pollution to air, water, land and the increase in decrease in home values that come with a stigma of larger facility like the one being proposed. These are not the “good paying” jobs that many claim them to be but actually the opposite. Strauss specifically has been called out for exploiting workers to keep not only the wages down but also as leverage it in avoiding adherence and compliance with OSHA guidelines. These are known to be the unsafest and worst types of jobs in existence.


Franklin, WI and neighboring cities of Muskego and Wind Lake are at risk of becoming home to a 30+ acre, industrial scale slaughterhouse, forever affecting our waterways, air, public health, and the overall quality of life.


​Similar scale slaughterhouse facilities around the nation wreak havoc in their host communities.  Serious public health, environmental pollution issues, and disasters are well-documented.  Eight of the twenty largest water polluters in the US are industrial animal processing plants. These types of facilities inflict horrendous health and environmental damage and change the very nature of their host communities forever.


Public Hearing

Watch the Public Hearing debacle

Strauss Special Use Packet

Packet from Plan Commission Public Hearing

Strauss Renderings

Strauss Project Summary

Rendering Showing Future Expansion

Meeting Packets for Common Council 2-17-2020

Strauss Special Use Resolution

Special Use, additions for Strauss Brands at existing location on 60th.

Detailed timeline of History around the development property

Detailed timeline updated 10-18

Financial Meeting discussing TID 6 which is the area that this development is in.

Finance_Mtg_Complete_10-1-2020_Resized.MP3 Info - Box

Franklin Water and Sewer Zoning Requirements

Franklin Water Utilities

Pre sanitary sewer Land use zoning- Franklin


Public Hearing

Despite residents protests and a petition, Franklin’s Plan Commission OK’d Strauss Proposed Expansion in the city

Babette Radio News- Discussion on Fired Latino Workers

“In response, Strauss said around 60% of the company's 170 production workers already live on Milwaukee's north side. Those union members earn entry-level wages starting at $14 to $17 an hour.” From-

Strauss Accused of Racism, Retaliation, and Wrongful Termination

“For the last several months in Milwaukee, we have been told about the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Latino community. We also have been told that roughly 60% of Strauss’ employees reside in Milwaukee. Strauss has refused to provide workers with any information on the number of employees who have tested positive in the plant.”

“We should question whether the increase in positive cases is connected to what former employees allege is occurring at Strauss. What also became clear from talking to protestors today, is that there are very few African-Americans employed by Strauss. Many of the protestors said that the decision not to hire more African-Americans seemed to be intentional and based in prejudice. The concerns, raised today by Milwaukee residents formerly employed with the company, are troubling. My time with the protestors presented more questions about the Strauss deal than it answered. I left feeling uneasy and with a knot in my stomach. Folks, who had given 12-20 years of service to Strauss, said they ended up training their replacements. No matter who’s working there, we need answers. As a state and city, where these workers reside we need to advocate for worker protections. Today’s replacements could be tomorrow’s patients.”

Workers, advocates say Strauss fired meatpacking workers after COVID-19 safety complaints


Risks to wells, water quality, air, and wildlife are significant.  Big Muskego Lake and the Muskego Wildlife Area adjacent the property.  Industrial-scale slaughterhouses, and the feedlots that supply them, produce noxious, potent gases, overload waterways with dangerous pollutants, and create enormous volumes of solid and liquid wastes with varying toxicological and harmful effects. Sometimes we can clearly see (or smell) the pollution and its source, such as wastewater causing green algal blooms and fish kills in a waterway; other times the pollutant may be indirect, like noxious gases, that can degrade air quality and harm down-wind communities.

"Wastewater from slaughterhouses is among the largest contributors to toxic pollution in waterways – primarily nitrate pollution. Eight slaughterhouses consistently rank among the nation’s top 20 industrial polluters of surface water, responsible for discharging 30 million pounds of contaminants in 2009, including nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia. Nitrates are a significant source of drinking water contamination in agricultural communities nationwide."

From <>

Environmental Integrity Study: Water Pollution From Slaughterhouses

One Green Planet: Impact of Wastewater, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Disposal of Waste

U.S. Geologic Survey: Groundwater depletion - well and water risks information

Twin Cities Pioneer Press, 2/27/17: St Paul rendering facility sues city over odor ordinance

​Chicago Tribune, 8/9/17: Waste spill at Cargill slaughterhouse contaminates waterways

​Des Moines Register, 8/12/12: Des Moines rendering smell battle years in making​

​Wisconsin State Journal, 10/12/17: Judge throws out industrial well permits scientists say would harm public waters

​High Country News, 10/13/17: Stanford University study: One in 30 wells in the West failed in recent years

​Delaware News Journal, 10/30/17: Wells poisoned at Sussex chicken plant​


Decreased property values, medical service shortfalls, and noxious odors are only some of the problems experienced in "slaughter-house" towns around the nation.

Housing shortages, overcrowded and burdened school systems, increases in crime, decreased property values, medical service shortfalls, traffic and road infrastructure deterioration are only some of the problems experienced in “slaughterhouse towns” across the nation.

Franklin, WI Demographic Data

Bureau of Labor Statistics​: Meatpacking salary info

What Happens When The Meat Packers Come To Town

Michael J. Broadway, Department of Geography Northern Michigan University: Meatpacking and the Transformation of Rural Communities: A Comparison of Brooks, Alberta and Garden City, Kansas*

Video: Dr. John Ikherd (U of Missouri) on negative consequences of Industrial AG on rural communities

PBS Frontline Series: Inside the Slaughterhouse

PBS Frontline Series: Industrial meat

NPR Series: Fines for Meat Industry's Safety Problems are Embarrassingly Low

Union of Concerned Scientists: Hidden costs of industrial agriculture

The New Yorker: Exploitation and abuse at the plant, immigrant workers endure conditions few Americans would put up with

NPR: Working 'the chain' slaughterhouse workers face lifelong injures

Washington Post: For Somalis, hope falls to the cutting floor, refugees entrapped by meat industry​

Bloomberg: America's worst graveyard shift is grinding up workers​


The overall long term damage to our reputation as a community, sustainable growth, and the resulting brain-drain are difficult to quantify but very real.

The livelihoods and health of families and businesses who live in direct proximity are at risk. Industrial-scale slaughterhouses damage community reputations, degrade perceived quality of life, and stymie community growth. 

Studies documenting the association between marginalized communities and industrial-scale slaughterhouses show increased public health risks from exposure to viruses, bacteria and wastes. Industrial agriculture large-scale feedlots and CAFOs that eventually follow in areas surrounding these facilities exacerbate problems. They inflict further health and environmental damage and change the very nature of host communities forever. Below is a growing collection of studies and articles exploring the damage this industry inflicts upon the communities unfortunate enough to endure its presence. ​​

Michael J. Broadway for Journal of Rural Studies: Planning for Change in Small Towns or Trying to Avoid the Slaughterhouse Blues

Michael J. Broadway for Focus on Geography Magazine: The World “Meats” Canada: Meatpacking’s Role in the Cultural Transformation of Brooks, Alberta

Video: Dr. Donald Stull (U of Kansas) on negative slaughterhouse community impacts

​Northern Michigan University study: Trying to avoid the slaughterhouse blues (exhaustive socio-economic study)

Appraisal Institute study: Animal operations and residential property values

​Crawford Stewardship Project: Compilation of industrial agriculture property devaluation studies

Michigan State University: Slaughterhouses and increased crime rates: An empirical analysis

​Toronto Sun, 10/1/12: Alberta meatpacking plant has troubled history

​Minnesota Star-Tribune, 6/20/16 : Trouble in River City: Turning away $240 million plant, Mason City Looks Ahead

​Chicago Tribune, 8/3/16: The price of pork: Cheap meat comes at a high cost in Illinois​

​CBS News, 5/2/17: Nebraska town rejects plan to create 1,100 jobs​ ​

​CBS News, 10/27/17 : Tongonoxie, Kansas tells Tyson to get lost​

​Wall Street Journal, 11/29/17 : American farm towns with changing priorities reject industrial agriculture​​

Vox, 6/10/20 : The meat we eat is a pandemic risk, too​

Occupational Safety and Health Administration- Hazards and Solutions

Contact your local City Officials

If you are unable to attend then you can write your statement to; and ask that it be read into the record. This must be done prior to 10/19 at 6:30 p.m.

You can also email the city officials below to let them know your concerns.

If you prefer calling Franklin officials, office numbers listed below:

Common Council

Alderwoman Shari Hanneman - District 4 Phone:  414-510-6522;

Alderman Mike Barber - District 5 Phone:  414-427-7605;

Alderman John R. Nelson - District 6 Phone:  414-427-7606;

Alderman Daniel M. Mayer - District 2 Phone:  414-427-2948;

Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm - District 3 Phone:  414-427-7603;

Alderman Mark A. Dandrea - District 1 Phone:  414-427-7603;


Link to Special Use code for which Strauss is needs to build this "expansion"

§ 15-3.0701 General Standards for Special Uses.

A. General Standards. No special use permit shall be recommended or granted pursuant to this Ordinance unless the applicant shall establish the following:

2. No Undue Adverse Impact. The proposed use and development will not have a substantial or undue adverse or detrimental effect upon or endanger adjacent property, the character of the area, or the public health, safety, morals, comfort, and general welfare and not substantially diminish and impair property values within the community or neighborhood.
3. No Interference with Surrounding Development. The proposed use and development will be constructed, arranged, and operated so as not to dominate the immediate vicinity or to interfere with the use and development of neighboring property in accordance with the applicable zoning district regulations.

5. No Traffic Congestion. The proposed use and development will not cause undue traffic congestion nor draw significant amounts of traffic through residential streets. Adequate measures will be taken to provide ingress and egress so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets.
6. No Destruction of Significant Features. The proposed use and development will not result in the destruction, loss, or damage of any natural, scenic, or historic feature of significant importance.
7. Compliance with Standards. The special use shall, in all other respects, conform to the applicable regulations of the district in which it is located, except as such regulations may, in each instance, be modified by the Common Council pursuant to the recommendations of the Plan Commission. The proposed use and development shall comply with all additional standards imposed on it by the particular provision of this Division and Ordinance authorizing such use.

B. Special Standards for Specified Special Uses. When the zoning district regulations authorize a special use in a particular zoning district and that special use is indicated as having special standards, as set forth in § 15-3.0702 and 15-3.0703 of this Division, a Special Use Permit for such use in such zoning district shall not be recommended or granted unless the applicant shall establish compliance with all such special standards.

C. Considerations. In determining whether the applicant's evidence establishes that the foregoing standards have been met, the Plan Commission and the Common Council shall consider the following:
1. Public Benefit. Whether and to what extent the proposed use and development at the particular location requested is necessary or desirable to provide a service or a facility that is in the interest of the public convenience or that will contribute to the general welfare of the neighborhood or community.
2. Alternative Locations. Whether and to what extent such public goals can be met by the location of the proposed use and development at some other site or in some other area that may be more appropriate than the proposed site.


You can also go online to fill out a complaint form:  

Address/ subject would be Strauss Brands or just Slaughterhouse – pretty sure they will know what you are talking about.  

If you are not local you can help by taking this simple action and share widely!

Victor Vescovo is a private equity investor, retired naval officer, and a "celebrity-explorer" who has been praised by many major media outlets. What most people don't know is that his company, Insight Equity Holdings, is the majority owner of Strauss Meats. In interviews and his TED Talk, Vescovo claims to care about the planet and the oceans, but the millions he has invested in an industry that is rapidly destroying our planet and bringing about an unprecedented mass extinction contradicts his stated beliefs.

Please urge him to dump Strauss Meats and divest from their huge 30-acre, mega-slaughterhouse plan!

Call Vescovo at 817-488-7720 and ask him to pull out of the Strauss slaughterhouse deal in Franklin and become a hero of the Franklin community and the greater good!

You can also Tweet him at with the same message.


Support now
Signatures: 7,317Next Goal: 7,500
Support now

Decision Makers

  • City Of Franklin
  • Strauss Brands
  • Mike BarberAlderman District 5
  • Mark A. DandreaAlderman District 1
  • Daniel M. MayerAlderman District 2