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Odd pairing is food for thought

The jokes might be hilarious if people's livelihoods weren't at stake.

"I want a chicken sub, please. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions. Oh, and I want that chicken."

One can almost hear Jay Leno poking fun at a project planned on Buffalo's East Side.

Two Brooklyn men have been given the green light by city zoning officials to open a slaughterhouse at 1285 William St. at Babcock Street. They plan to butcher poultry, goats, lambs, rabbits and calves.

But there's already a tenant in the building -- a Subway sandwich shop. Owner Bobby Horton is worried that having a slaughterhouse in back could create offensive odors. Even if there is no stench, Horton's wife worries that some customers might be repulsed by the idea of having the two businesses under the same roof.

"If they're cutting up [animals], are you going to want to come up front an eat some meat?"  Felicia Horton asked.

But Mustasa Jaarah and his father, Yousef, insist their slaughterhouse will be odor free, won't cause rodent or insect problems, and will be an asset to the city. They will employ 25 people in a facility that will include a butcher shop and a farmers market.

The businessmen say there is no slaughterhouse in the region that butchers in a Muslim tradition known as Halal, which includes a prayer as the animals are slain. They added that they've operated a slaughterhouse in Brooklyn for 15 years and have not had any complaints from neighbors.

The Common Council will likely approve a license for the slaughterhouse, Council President David A. Franczyk predicted. He visited the Jaarah's business in Brooklyn and said the only thing he detected was a faint smell of poultry -- not unlike the odor one might detect in a butcher shop.

 What do you think? Can a slaughterhouse and a sandwich shop share the same digs and thrive?

-- Brian Meyer

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