RAMADI, Iraq --
RAMADI, Iraq (September 6, 2008) –In the absence of a slaughter house, Iraqi farmers and street merchants in Ramadi slaughtered and sold their animals on the side of the city’s streets. The scene was not only a widespread eyesore in the city, but also posed serious health risks to the population.
In an effort to reduce those risks, Coalition forces funded the rebuilding of the city’s only slaughter house in south Ramadi.
The project was completed under the direction of Weapons Company and Civil Affairs Team 5, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, and Embedded Provincial Recovery Team-Ramadi (ePRT).
“Ramadi has many small road side butchers that are in notorious for unsanitary conditions,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Morris, the Team 5 leader for Civil Affairs Detachment 2, attached to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1. “The butchers and farmers also discard the animal’s waste in the city’s fragile storm drain system.”
The slaughter house will provide a more sanitary place for the butchers to slaughter their animals, and will staff veterinarian to check animals for diseases and cleanliness before they are butchered.
The location also frees the city of some traffic congestion caused by local shepherds herding sheep into town to bring their product to the local butchers.
The original slaughter house had been used as a hideout by insurgents, and fighting reduced the structure to just a large pile of cobblestones with a few cement columns rising above the ruins.
Now, like many other Ramadi structures, the slaughterhouse has been rebuilt for its original purposes.
The slaughter house was rebuilt in the same location, where it will help facilitate growth in the most economically deprived neighborhood of Ramadi.
“The area, comprised of mostly farmers and laborers, is noticeably impoverished,” said Capt. Jonathan B. Hamilton, the Weapons Company Commander, who helped push the project to completion. “The slaughter house will help to bring money to the region by making it an agricultural center. It will also employ a few people, but the real money will come from people bringing their livestock to a site where they can sell their animals in a competitive market.”
The project was considered a top priority by 1st Battalion, 9th Marines staff because of its economic impact and health implications.
Marines with Team 5 constantly checked up on the project, which began in April, to make certain it was being properly constructed to accommodate the needs of the people.
“My team and I went out there several days a week to inspect the quality of work and to get assessment pictures for our records,” Morris said. “Every time we went to the site, we would do a thorough walk through of the entire project and look at the progress.”
Weapons Company Marines helped to drive the rebuilding efforts by coordinating with Team 5 to add creative incentives such as the on-hand veterinarian and free sheep feed. The company, which provided security during the majority of the rebuilding tenure, was also responsible for meeting with tribal and local council leaders to raise support for the project.
Hamilton said the ePRT played a pivotal role in promoting the vital rebuilding by working to include the slaughter house into an overall plan meant to assist agricultural development in the area.
The neighborhood surrounding the slaughter house was one of the last in the city to turn against the insurgency. Having peace and security was the first step in the rebuilding process.
“The slaughter house, in the southern part of Ramadi, was one of the last strongholds in Ramadi for the insurgents,” Morris said. “We were finally able to kick off the project once the area was safe enough to begin the rebuilding process.”
The region is enjoying peace and development, due in part to the continued growth and maturity of the growing Iraqi Police force under the guidance of Coalition forces and the locals’ increasing optimism regarding the future of their country.
Hamilton said he’s received only positive responses from the locals.
“The citizens were very responsive with this project and they’re all anxious to see the benefits of it,” Hamilton said. “The citizens are excited about the slaughter house, as it will help create a healthier environment for the city and its outlying areas.”