Updated Friday, December 26, 2003

DeKalb Daily Chronicle

Horses deserve better than Cavel International



I always have loved horses since I saw my first one many years ago. Horses have always been in my sleep dreams and waking dreams. I ride them into the sunset. I gently groom them in their stalls. Always, in my dreams, the horses and I show one another love and respect. If I'm depressed, I think of horses peacefully snoozing under the moonlight, or wild horses running fast - the pure essence of freedom. I hear thundering hooves crossing endless green plains. My spirits lift.

When I was young, my heroes from European and American history traveled on horseback, delivering justice in a world full of injustices. What child hasn't dreamed of being a knight or a princess, a cowboy or a cowgirl? How many of us haven't dreamed about riding, caring for, and bonding with a horse - just like the "good guys" of yesteryear?

But horses are not only the loyal partners of our heroes of olden days; the horses themselves are our heroes! They allow us to find our true selves when we look deep into their kind eyes. Their sweet hearts make us feel unconditionally loved.

Did you know that the symbol of ancient Athens, where Democracy was born, is the horse? Similarly, the horse was part of the dream of American pioneers heading further West to find a new life.

But the bloody greed of three French- and Belgian- owned slaughterhouses, like Cavel International, which is rebuilding its despicable business in DeKalb, has turned my horse dream into a nightmare. They have brought gruesome, premature deaths to tens of thousands of horses murdered every year, to the 3 million horses murdered during the last 20 years by these horse houses of horror.

Yes, those kind horse hearts - the same hearts that love us so much - are bled out, often while they are still conscious and kicking. These loving hearts beat for the last time so that the wicked whims of wealthy European and Japanese consumers may be satisfied. Our companions, our loyal friends who are so gentle with children, our most wonderful of God's creatures - destroyed to make "designer food" for foreign gourmet appetites.

How have horses served mankind? They've carried our soldiers to war. They've made civilization possible, pulling wagons and carriages through cities and villages, plows through fields, logs through forests. And how are we rewarding them for their endless hours of work on our behalf? By sending them to meet the most horrific and painful death possible, suspended head down abject misery, drowning in their own blood.

Why do Americans allow such a barbaric, despicable and immoral practice? Because most of you don't know it exists. The companies creep into communities quietly, as Cavel is doing in DeKalb today. They sneak in like a cancer - hiding from detection. If and when they are discovered, they cover their tactics with deceitful propaganda, hoping you will remain ignorant of the truth.

We can stop this now. On the federal level, we have simply to exert pressure on our congressmen by writing and calling them en masse, persuading them toco-sponsor HR 857: The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill which would ban horse slaughter nationwide and the transport of horses for slaughter to other countries. On the State level, Representative Robert S. Molaro has introduced Senate Bill 1921, which would ban horse slaughter and the exportation of horses for slaughter in Illinois. Although this bill wasn't called for a vote last fall session, it will presented again in January. We must call and write our State representatives and senators asking them to support and co-sponsor this bill.

I have a dream. I dream that American horses will never be slaughtered again. Now that you citizens of Illinois have heard about the nightmare, do you share my dream? If you do, please be brave enough to tell the Belgian and French horse murderers that they are not welcome here. Have the moral courage to shout: "NO MORE!"

For more information on horse slaughter and on how to contact your state representatives, visit the following Web sites: