DEKALB -- Illinois
is one of only two states that permit horses to be slaughtered for
human consumption. The three horse slaughter plants in the United
States are foreign-owned and export the slaughtered meat to European
considered a delicacy in some cultures and sells for as much as
$15 per pound. It is unlawful to consume horsemeat in the State
Bob Molaro (D) introduced legislation that will ban the slaughter
of horses in the State of Illinois for human consumption. The Molaro
bill -- HB3845 -- is now an amendment to SB1921.
The Cavel International,
Inc. of DeKalb, Illinois is a horse slaughtering business destroyed
by fire in 2002. A new facility is scheduled to open in February
or March of this year.
Cavel project manager was quoted as saying "Were getting
a very loud minority whos making a lot of noise about this.
We shouldnt be defining for other cultures what they eat.
Tucker argued that horsemeat exportation is a multimillion-dollar
business and good for Illinois economy," according to
a report from the Post-Dispatch's Springfield Bureau.
Gail Vacca of DeKalb disputes Tuckers statement. Vacca said
that a survey shows that 83% to 90% oppose the slaughter of horses
is not a loud minority but an overwhelming majority
speaking out against a foreign owned company providing a service
that is totally in opposition to our culture," Vacca said.
"The horse racing industry alone employs 37,500 full time jobs
compared to the Cavel operation which provides 40 minimum wage jobs
with a big turnover."
any association with animal rights groups who have been considered
extreme in their actions regarding animals. She told the Leader
that the racing industry is the major organization promoting the
every living creature should be treated humanely and the horse killing
industry treats these animals brutally. There are numerous refuge
and retirement facilities that take unwanted horses in Illinois,
there is never a reason for a horse to to be slaughtered in this
way outside of greed," she said.
the Hoofed Animals Humane Society reported substantially fewer equine
cruelty calls during the period the slaughter house has been down.
chairman Richard L. Duchoissois said in a letter to Vacca, "Obviously,
we are in support of this bill. We do not wish to have any thoroughbreds
International applied for the horse slaughter license on 4/14/03
when no facility existed" Vacca said. "The Illinois Dept.
of Agriculture granted the license on 4/22/03 and had not inspected
the facility as is required."
buyers travel across the country to find killer horses to be transported
to Illinois and Texas for slaughter. Horses transported into Illinois
must have a certificate from a veterinarian and proof they have
been tested for equine infectious anemia. However, the horse slaughterhouse
is the only people exempt from these regulations and this represents
a major health hazard.
been considered companion animals in the United States and are taxed
as a recreational animal. They are not exempt from state sales tax
as are other livestock species that are raised for food production.
we be killing dogs and cats for consumption next?" Vacca said.
"Our culture has to draw a line somewhere and we have never
in our history been a country that eats companion animals."
are not produced for food consumption, they are treated with drugs
that would be considered dangerous if consumed, as there are no
regulations on treatment or withdrawal.
thirty horse associations have joined forces in supporting Molaro's
bill as well as the equine veterinarians and other organizations
horse raiser told the Leader, "If you would ever tour a horse
slaughtering facility, you would have trouble sleeping."
the other two slaughter facilities owned by Belgium and France are
located, passed legislation banning horse slaughter for consumption
the Texas facilities are closed, Illinois will be the only state
that allows that practice," said Carol Chapman of the Last
Refuge, an organization that rescues unwanted horses.
of Jerseyville has bred and trained harness racing horses for almost
fifty years. He said he never has a problem finding a good home
for horses that are not longer good for racing.
our horses are always in demand. The Amish are always looking for
a good buggy horse," he said.
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