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."
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The UN envoy to Yemen confirmed on Monday that the consensus of the participants in Yemeni peace talks held in Kuwait on bringing peace makes reaching a solution possible.
"There is no doubt that there are significant differences in views, but the consensus of the participants to bring peace makes it possible to reach a solution,” the UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement issued after the talks session Monday.
“There are only two options; either to continue the war or to consult and make concessions in order to achieve peace and all parties should assume responsibility for their decisions,” the UN envoy added.
The Saudi-led coalition has continued to fly intensively on the skies of many provinces, including Sana'a, Taiz, Mareb, Sa'ada, Mahweet, Lahj, Hajjah, Shabwa, Hodeida, Jawf.
A military official said the Riyadh's hirelings targeted the army and popular committees' sites in areas of Beer Basha, al-Khalel in Khadir district, in Jahmaliyah, Klabah, al-Salal and 40 Street in al-Dhamgah district in Taiz with light and medium weapons.
Moreover, the Riyadh's hirelings pounded the army and popular committees sites in al-Shabakah area, al-Ghawi Mount and al-Ain Mount, al-Jurf Mount, al-Shuqairah valley, Hasanat area with mortars in al-Waze'yah district of Taiz, according to the official.
The army and popular committees sites were also targeted by the mercenaries in Nehm district of Sana'a province.
In Mareb province, the hirelings bombarded the army and popular committees sites in al-Mashjah, Hilan Mount, al-Rabiah in Serwah district with medium and heavy weapons.
The Saudi fighter jets dropped flare bombs on different areas of Razeh district in Sa'ada, he said.
The hirelings pounded also areas in al-Ghail and al-Moton districts and targeted sites of the army and popular committees Aibar valley in Jawf with light weapons.
The national delegation in Kuwait met on Monday with ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union (EU).
The meeting reviewed the conduct of the consultations over the past days and the reasons for the lack of progress in the negotiations, topped by the non-compliance of Saudi Arabia to the ceasefire.
At the meeting, the national delegation stressed that the consolidation of the cease-fire is the key factor for the success of the ongoing negotiations in Kuwait.
The delegation pointed out that the continuation of war and aggression and the other party's disavowal from his responsibilities was the reason for delaying the arrival of the delegation members to Kuwait.
The national delegation demanded pressure toward the success of the negotiations through the implementation of the first item, confirming its keenness on the success of the political process based on consensus and not exclusion.
A new talk session between the national delegation and Riyadh's delegation was held on Saturday in Kuwait.
A Yemeni military communication and coordination committee and UN army experts participated in the session to brief the delegates on their activities and the difficulties they face in their work to make sure the cease-fire is respected.
In the presence of UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the talks continued to discuss the cessation of hostilities, in addition to review the general framework of the talks.
In the session, the UN envoy suggested to issue a statement supporting the ceasefire, which was accepted by the national committee. However, the Riyadh delegation rejected the proposal.
The ceasefire committees in Jawf province signed on Friday a document detailing a mechanism to establish the ceasefire in all fighting fronts.
in a copy of the signed document, which included several terms, the most important are: ceasing fire in all fronts in the province, stopping military mobilization and reinforcements in all fronts, observing the ceasefire by the concerned committees, placing a mechanism for the direct communication between the two parties, halting all acts of detention in the public roads, completing measures for prisoners swap and releasing detainees, allowing humanitarian and relief works and opening roads.
Ansarullah official spokesman has said that the desired solution must be inclusive dealing with all issues.
"We do not want a piecemeal a partial solution. We want a comprehensive solution includes all issues to go to sound solutions," Mohamed Abdulsalam said in the opening session of the peace talks kicked off in Kuwait on Thursday.
He expressed reservations about the continuation of the airstrikes and the five points, which he said "were not clear either in their sequences or content."
He said that they held a dialogue with Saudi Arabia to make Kuwait talks successful, stressing that they will deal positively to come out with an obvious solution leads to partnership.
The talks was supposed to start three days ago, but the national delegation refused to leave Sana'a on time.
Abdulsalam said that the delay was because of the war that has not ceased. "The reasons for the delay are the continued air raids [on Yemen] and the ambiguity in the talks' agenda."
He appreciated the role played by Kuwait and the facilities they offered to succeed the talks.
Head of the General People Congress (GPC) delegation confirmed that the GPC is keen on the path of peace and dialogue as it does in 2011.
A delegation consisting of representatives of the General People’s Congress (GPC) and Ansarullah headed on Wednesday to Kuwait to partake in the dialogue called for by the United Nations.
In a statement to media before departing Sana’a International Airport, the official spokesman for Ansarullah Mohamed Abdulsalam said the delegation’s first purpose is the success of the dialogue, despite the continuing bombing and blockade.
" We are going to Kuwait to prove to the public opinion, the Yemeni people and the army and popular committees everywhere that we are keen on achieving the security and stability,” Abdulsalm said.
He confirmed attending the dialogue, despite the reservation, which came in the delegation’s letter to the UN envoy, about halting the military acts and about the ambiguity in the UN agenda.