By ROB PHILLIPS
The Northwest Herald
Billboards denouncing a horse slaughterhouse being rebuilt in
DeKalb have popped up in Woodstock and Rockford.
The DeKalb plant is expected to be completed in December, said
James Tucker, spokesman for Cavel International Inc. The old Cavel
plant burned down in April 2002.
Woodstock and Rockford are the closest towns to DeKalb with
open billboard space, said Christine Berry, founder of the Equine
Protection Network in Friedensburg, Pa.
The billboards read, "Keep America's horses in the stable
and off the table!"
The signs are part of the Equine Protection Network's national
horse slaughter awareness campaign. Billboard messages also
were posted in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Florida and Indiana.
"Most Americans don't even know that we slaughter horses
in the United States," said Cindy Beauchaine, an Algonquin
resident and a member of the Equine Protection Network.
"There are horses that could have been saved (from slaughter)
today just by their owners making the decision to euthanize
The McHenry County Board denied Cavel's attempt to move a horse
slaughterhouse to Big Foot in April 1999.
Paul Kurpier, of Harvard, joined many others to stop the
slaughterhouse from coming to Big Foot and said he is glad to have
the billboard, and not the factory, in McHenry County.
"We felt very strongly about not having it in McHenry
County," said Kurpier, who owns five horses. "We
consider them our pets. Nowhere in America are they currently
eating horse meat."
Horses are sold to Cavel for about $200 to $300, and the meat
mainly is shipped to European countries, Tucker said.
"Just because we can make money at something doesn't mean
we should be doing it," Berry said. "Any commerce isn't
The Equine Protection Network started in 1995 as a grass-roots
organization to protect abused, neglected and slaughterhouse-bound
"Slaughtering is just a dirty little secret of the horse
industry," Berry said.
But Tucker said Cavel is not doing anything wrong.
"We are under [U.S. Department of Agriculture]
regulations," Tucker said. "We have a veterinarian on
the premises at all times."
Tucker said the factory also operates under strict European
Berry said that whenever a horse slaughtering plant is started,
horse theft always is a risk.
"If you go out and steal a car and take it to a used-car
dealer, he is going to ask for a title and such," Kurpier
said. "There is no such control with horses."
But Tucker said horse stealing is exaggerated.
"I can only remember one or two times where that has
happened," he said.
The DeKalb plant will be Cavel's only slaughterhouse in the
United States. The nation's two other horse-slaughtering plants
are in Texas.
Tucker said DeKalb was chosen because it is "centrally
located in the Midwest, and it is near an airport."`