Updated Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Support legislation to end horse killling



SB 1921 and its first House amendment, the controversial legislation introduced by state Rep. Robert S. Molaro, D-Chicago, to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as the trade and transportation of horseflesh and live horses intended for human consumption in Illinois, will be called for a vote in mid-February.

This bill would prevent the Belgian-owned company Cavel International from operating its new horse slaughterhouse, which it is rebuilding in DeKalb in spite of the strong local, state and nationwide public outcry.

Cavel International, a Belgian company owned by the Belgian corporation "Velda Group," intends to slaughter horses for human consumption in some European and Asian countries, such as France, Belgium and Japan. In all of these countries, horse meat is considered a delicacy. Cavel's new plant will be ready to operate by March.

SB 1921 failed to reach the House floor in last November's short veto session due to the death of state Rep. David Wirsing, R-Sycamore, in whose district the Cavel plant is located.

There are only two horse slaughterhouses remaining in the United States, both located in Texas, both foreign-owned and both operating in open defiance of Texas state law banning the trade and possession of horse meat. Litigation pending with a federal judge in Texas would force these companies to shut down, leaving Illinois as the one state in which horses are slaughtered for human consumption.