Tim Evans - Farmer witnesses traditions the world over as immigrants flock to slaughter their own meat
HAZELWOOD, Ind. -- The sun is just beginning to peek over the horizon, but a crowd has already gathered at Tom Prince's farm.
It's an international group; a half-dozen languages echo in Prince's metal-sided barn as a man kneels over a bleating goat and says a brief Muslim prayer, then cuts the animal's throat with a swift slash using a long, sharp knife.
It's hard to imagine a more unlikely scene -- in Indiana or just about anywhere else in the U.S. -- than the early morning gatherings that take place here.
Since 1999, Prince has operated a self-service slaughterhouse 20 miles west of Indianapolis, specializing in providing goat meat to the area's growing international community.
His card reads "You Buy -- You Kill -- You Dress -- You Take Home," and business is booming.
The 80-year-old Prince holds court inside the spotless facility from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, selling about 50 goats each weekend. In the weeks before Muslim and other religious holidays, sales often double.
Prince speaks in a slow Southern drawl. It's decidedly domestic compared to the array of languages spoken by customers who have made their way to Central Indiana from Morocco, Yemen, Nigeria, Eritrea, Togo, Kenya, Pakistan, Mexico and other places around the globe where goat is a dietary staple.
"I never thought I'd know so many people from different countries," said Prince, who developed his taste for goat -- often said to taste like a sweet mix of beef and pork -- as a child in rural Tennessee during the Depression.
In the past few years, goat meat has become available in a growing number of grocery stores and specialty markets. But Prince's business continues to grow -- even though he doesn't advertise or have a Web site -- thanks to word of mouth.
The attraction for many is the freshness of the meat and the low price. Prince sells goats for $1.40 a pound based on their live weight, and a 70-pound goat will provide about 35 pounds of meat -- so the meat costs customers an average of about $2.80 a pound, or $98.
For some, butchering their own meat helps maintain a link to cultures they've left behind.
Still others, including the large number of Muslims who buy from Prince, prefer to kill and butcher the animals themselves to ensure food preparation standards of their faith are followed.
Prince said he doesn't know a lot about Islam, but he is savvy enough as a businessman to make sure his operation meets their needs -- including situating the killing table so it faces east, toward Mecca.
Muslim customers like Ahmed Awad, 37, Indianapolis, say they appreciate the nod to their faith. A native of Yemen, Awad has been coming to the slaughterhouse about once a month for the past year to buy meat for his family.
"You can buy goat a lot of places," he explained, "but I want to kill it myself."
Prince raised and sold goats for years, but he didn't open the slaughterhouse until after he ran into trouble with state and local authorities.
"When I moved out here in 1969, I bought four or five goats just for myself," he said. "Then an African fellow came out and asked me if I'd sell him some. I sold him two and he said he'd be back next week for two more, and that's what really got me started."
In those days, Prince let customers butcher the animals in an old corncrib next to his barn. But as more people came to buy goats, the increasing activity -- along with the odd mix of visitors it attracted -- led to complaints.
"A government inspector drove up one day and told me I couldn't kill any more goats here," he said.
So Prince quit selling his goats, but former customers and others who heard about the "goat man" kept calling. The requests prompted him to get back into business and do it right, building a do-it-yourself slaughterhouse that complied with state health and sanitation standards.
"It's interesting learning how people from the different cultures prepare and use all the parts of a goat," said John Hadley, 44, a middle school janitor who lives nearby and is one of five part-time employees who help out at the slaughterhouse on Saturdays.
He said many African customers like to eat the heads, while Mexicans often keep the stomach to make soup.
Some skin the goat carcasses, while others burn off the hair with a propane torch or over a fire smoldering behind the slaughterhouse.
Either way, the customers who come out clearly aren't ready to embrace all of the new ways of their adopted home.
"We get a lot of fathers out here teaching their sons things they learned from their fathers and grandfathers," said Hadley. "It's really neat to see all these people keeping their . . . cultural traditions alive."
Source: Google Alerts
The Saudi aggression and its hirelings continued to breach the UN-backed ceasefire in several provinces during the past 24 hours, a security official said Sunday.
The Saudi warplanes waged an air raid on Abbs district in Hajjah province, a raid on Kilo 16 area in Hodeida province and two air raids on al-Masloub district in Jawf province, the official explained.
The Saudi aggression targeted Harf Sufyan district of Amran province with 15 sorties and targeted a cement-loaded truck in the district, the official added.
The Riyadh's hirelings in Taiz province pounded Dhubab city, al-Amri Mount and many areas in al-Waze'yah district, he said.
The hirelings pounded the army and popular committees sites in Jahmalya and Tha'abat areas in Taiz province. They continued to target al-Shabka Mount, al-Madrab Mount, al-Qashuba area with medium weapons.
The official confirmed that many hirelings were killed or injured when they tried to advance towards al-Dhahura Mount in al-Waze'yah district in Taiz.
The national delegation described on Saturday the Saudi aggression bombing on al-Amaliqa military camp threatens the truce and talks progress.
The delegation's statement came in a letter of protest handed over to the UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed against the intensive bombing by the Saudi warplanes on al-Amaliqa camp taken place on Friday in Amran province.
The continuation of the air raids on the country clearly showed the lack of sincere will and serious efforts to reach a political solution, the delegation said.
The letter was handed over during the talk session held today at Bayan Palace in Kuwait in the presence of the UN envoy and the talk delegation's heads.
The Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries continued to breach the UN-announced ceasefire during the past few hours in a number of provinces, a military official said Friday.
The aggression warplanes launched a raid on Serwah district of Mareb province and two others on al-Maslob district in Jawf province, the official said.
He added that the hostile war jets targeted Harf Sufian district in Amran province with two raids, in addition to six raids waged on the district since the morning.
The warplanes and spying planes flew intensively in the sky of districts of Taiz province and on the coastal strip.
The military official said the aggression’s mercenaries pounded different parts of Serwah district in Mareb province with artillery shells. They bombed the sites of the army and popular committees in Jarrah Mount and Usaifera area in Taiz province with medium and heavy weapons.
At least 11 people were killed in Dhalea province when the Saudi warplanes targeted al-Mahla area with several raids, a military official said.
The Saudi warplanes also hit Harib-al-Qaramish area and Serwah district of Mareb province with several air raids, the official said, adding the raids caused many casualties.
Moreover, a woman was wounded when the aggression targeted Hareb-Nehm in Sana'a province with two air raids to back an attempt of the hirelings to make progress on the ground.
In Sana'a province, the Riyadh's hirelings targeted the army and popular committees' sites in Nehm district and fired tens of rockets on Mabda'a, Bani Bareq and Malh areas in the district, according to the official.
The hirelings in Taiz province hit al-Qashuba area in al-Waze'yah district, al-Amri and Dhubab city with artillery shells.
The aggression dropped sound bombs on the sky of Harf Sufyan district of Amran province, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Saudi aggression intensified flying on the skies of the capital and its suburbs, Taiz and its coastline, Sa'ada, Hajjah, Mareb and Mahweet, Jawf provinces.
An agreement was reached to release one thousand prisoners from both of the parties to the conflict in Yemen before the holy month of Ramadan, sources in the national delegation in Kuwait said on Thursday.
The sources explained that each party will submit a list of 500 prisoners to the United Nations next Saturday, which in turn will hand over the list of each party to the other party.
The national delegation continued on Thursday, during a session with the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to discuss ideas and proposals relating to the transition roadmap.
In the session, the national delegation insisted on the need to form a consensus executive authority and determine the time-bound tasks and powers of the transitional phase leading to presidential and parliamentary elections.
The delegation underlined the importance of finding adequate guarantees for a political solution leads to stopping the Saudi aggression, lifting the siege, achieving peace and ending the suffering of the Yemeni people
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to take steps to end the suffering of civilians.
The MSF demanded the parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of health facilities and their workers and give them the opportunity to do their job effectively and safely.
" The organization (MSF) does its efforts in areas that are most in need of medical and humanitarian assistance and we ask all parties to the conflict to respect our work, " MSF's official Will Turner said in a press release.
Turner confirmed that the organization will remain committed to providing health care to patients and respond to the emergency medical needs and will stand by the side of the conflict victims.