Suburban Chicago Daily Herald
Horse slaughter ban hits hurdle in state House

By Leslie Hague Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - A plan to ban horse slaughter in Illinois fell short of passing by a handful of votes Thursday in the state House.

The legislation targets Cavel International, a slaughterhouse in DeKalb that burned down in 2002 and is planning to reopen. The measure's sponsor, state Rep. Robert Molaro, said he plans to bring the measure back to the House through a parliamentary maneuver.

Selling or consuming horse meat in Illinois is illegal. But exporting it, even if the intent is human consumption, is legal. The law should be consistent on that point, said Molaro, a Chicago Democrat.

"It's dishonest that we do that, in my opinion," he said.

Horses should be considered a "revered animal," and should be protected from slaughter for human consumption, he said.

The plan's opponents said the legislation unfairly infringes on a business.

"We set a dangerous precedent when we sit here for legislative action and decide to put a lawful business out of operation," said state Rep. Bill Black, a Danville Republican.

The plant is in the district of state Rep. Robert Pritchard, a Hinckley Republican. He said he wanted the plant's economic development for his district.

"Consider this a matter of choice," he said. "Think hard about giving people choice and giving employment opportunity and trying to add to the economic activity of our state instead of detracting from it."

Cavel, the only horse slaughterhouse in Illinois, ships its horse meat overseas.

The plan previously passed the state Senate. A similar ban is being debated in Congress.