Nine letters on horse slaughter article
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Thanks for being conservatively incorrect

I commend Illinois Leader for being the first politically conservative publication I've seen to give the Illinois horse slaughter issue its due ["Legislation proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois," January 19].

Even more impressive, you allowed the "majority" view (which Cavel's James Tucker pretends is a "minority") to be expressed in full - and thus the true facts (which are hidden by the opposition's misstatements) to come to light.

Did you purposely run the article next to the "Quote of the Day" ["Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail," January 19]? It seems so! I'd like to think that those of us who are fighting horse slaughter are in a small way similar to the "extremists" for love, justice, truth and goodness listed in Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter - Jesus, Paul, Amos, Martin Luther, John Bunyon, Thomas Jefferson, and Illinois' own Abraham Lincoln.

Perhaps MLK Jr. also had in mind President Lincoln's "extremist" utterance, "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."


Susan Clay
Houston, Texas

Do your hamburgers whinny?

Excellent article. I fully support legislation that would end horse slaughter in Illinois.

Any pet food company can confirm the fact that Americans are repulsed by the thought of horse as an ingredient. Due to consumer complaints, pet food companies stopped including horse in their products years ago. And Elmer wouldn't sell much glue anymore if it still used horse.

An old Texas law, fought in court by the two foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses in Texas, forbids the human consumption of horses. This old Texas law was originally written to stop meat packers from stretching hamburger with ground horse. Every state should have such a law.

Catherine Campagna

Horse sushi?

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 three 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 to co-sponsor HR 857, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill that 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 legislators, visit the following Web sites:

Daniel Cordero Fernández

Where do the leftovers go?

From someone who has followed this issue closely ever since they tried to legalize horse slaughter in Texas, I must say that I am very tired of hearing how we who are opposed are a small but vocal minority. We had over one million pieces of unique correspondence during the battle against legalizing horse slaughter in Texas, and a significant portion of it was from citizens outside the State of Texas, from Canada, and even Americans living abroad.

The other argument I am tired of hearing businesses like Cavel continually spout is that we (Americans) should not be trying to dictate the eating habits of other countries. We are not trying to do that; all we are saying is, not our horses.

It has been said that eating horsemeat became popular because of the mad cow disease debacle in England and Europe. I wonder how they would feel if they knew about the drugs, some many fear to be carcinogenic to humans, that are given to these horses who are mostly companion and/or performing animals.

Insofar as revenue, these are foreign-owned plants, and the profits go overseas. The jobs that are generated by this industry have proven to be high stress, high turnover and dangerous. The waste from the slaughter of these animals, their dung, urine, blood and entrails - where do you think that goes? Why don't you ask your Illinois Department of Agriculture who was so swift to grant Cavel a permit, and from what I understand, with no inspection. I would love to hear their answer.

Vivian Farrell
Houston, Texas

Thanks for being conservatively incorrect

An absolutely great article!! I am a Texan who fought long and hard to end this activity in Texas. It's time our politicians listened to their constituents and resisted the temptation to be swayed with money and campaign contributions. Thanks for such a great write-up. I would love to see a follow-up mentioning H.R. 857, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

Ginger Podojil
Damon, Texas

OSCC? You decide

Thank you for your outstanding article on Bob Molaro's legislation to end Illinois horse slaughter.

You wrote, "Texas, where the other two slaughter facilities owned by Belgium and France are located, passed legislation banning horse slaughter for consumption last year."

Actually, it has been illegal in Texas to possess, transport, or sell horsemeat for human consumption since 1949. What happened last year was, my Texas State Representative Betty Brown proposed a bill that would have "legalized" the two Texas horse slaughter plants. This came about after Texas Attorney General John Cornyn issued an opinion letter (August 7, 2002) confirming that the two horse slaughter plants were operating in criminal violation of Texas law. Ms. Brown's bill was pooh-poohed by the Texas Lege.

However, on Sep 26, 2002, the two slaughter plants sued in federal court to block prosecution, and that case is still pending. That is why the two Texas plants are still in operation.

I own the land next to the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in Kaufman, Texas. For over 20 years the owners of this facility have lied about the horses they slaughter. They say they are old, sick, crippled, or crazy (OSCC).

The truth is, there are killer-buyers who travel from auction to auction picking up any meaty horse at a good price. They don't want old and sick and crippled horses. They don't weigh enough. They don't want to waste their resources on a horse weighing less than 1,100 pounds. See their price list for walk-ins at  See their list of killer-buyers at

Here's what the horses look like. Better than any horse I ever rode as a kid growing up in Kaufman.


Mary S. Nash
Kaufman, Texas

How to get involved

Do you love horses? How much do you love horses? Do you love them enough to provide them with the best feed and hoof care you can find? Do you buy the best tack you can afford? Do you spend time brushing and bathing your horse? Do you buy carrots and apples in bulk so you can provide your friend and companion an occasional treat? Are you on a first name basis with your farrier and veterinarian, and do you constantly question them when they visit on the health of your horse?

If you can answer, “yes” to any one of these questions than you might just love horses.

But what happens when the horse you love, the same horse that has been your trusted friend and companion for many years, can no longer be kept? Do you call your local slaughterhouse and have them come take him and make him into burgers for your freezer? I hope your answer to that question is a heartfelt "no way;" however, that is what is happening to horses in the United States.

In fact, since 1980 as many as four million of our horses have been slaughtered in the United States and Canada and their meat exported to Europe and Japan for human consumption.

Now you might say that these are old, sick and lame horses that are being sent to slaughter, but that is not true. The Europeans do not want to eat sick and lame horses. They want healthy horsemeat, and they pay a pretty price for it, up to $25 per pound.

Many of the horses slaughtered are just foals; unnecessary by-products of the PMU industry for the manufacturing of Premarin, a female estrogen-replacement drug.

Family pets that are taken to auctions to be sold, hopefully to a good home, more than likely are purchased by “killer” buyers for the slaughterhouse who are posing as potential new horse owners.

A laughable aspect of horsemeat is the worming medications and other medications that we use in the care of our horses. It is clearly written on every worming medication label, that it should not be used in horses intended for slaughter for human consumption. We all know that the majority of the horses that are sent to slaughter in and from this country have been wormed, because horses are not food animals in the United States. They are pets, companions, transporters, and more importantly trusted friends.

Currently there are two foreign-owned slaughterhouses in Texas killing 156 horses a day and another foreign-owned slaughterhouse is slated to open in Illinois early in 2004 with the potential of killing 100 horses a day.

The state of California banned horse slaughter in 1998. Since the ban, there has been no discernible increase in cruelty cases and surprisingly horse theft dropped 30%. The way things are now, if your horse is stolen during the night, that horse could be dead the next day and a week later will be marinating in a high-end restaurant in France or Belgium.

Do you think your horse deserves a better future than becoming a roast in France, Belgium and Italy, to name a few, or being served up in a sushi bar in Japan? If you do, than we urge you to research federal bill H.R. 857, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

Spread the word about horse slaughter. We can stop this. Tell your friends and have them tell their friends. Don’t be surprised if your friends don’t know anything about horse slaughter, most people do not.

Are you interested in knowing more? Contact us at The Laughing Horse Sanctuary, 8317 Grassland Drive, Sandy Level, Virginia, 24161, 434-927-5298, or email

Julia A. Durfee
Sandy Level, Virginia

We want to be happy, not worry

Hello, all! I just wanted to thank you for writing this article. I live in the southern Illinois area, and my wife and I own five quarterhorses. The last thing we want to worry about if we can't keep our horses due to our health is that they may end up in a slaughterhouse. We spend a lot of money on vacation here in Illinois, and a live horse is worth more than a dead one on some Japanese plate. Thank you again for writing this article. We are planning another meeting with Bob Molaro on getting this bill into law sometime in mid febuary.

Thomas Lee Trevino

Thanks from IL rescue agency

Thanks so much for taking the time to run this excellent story! So few in Illinois are aware of this battle. Thank you for researching the issue and standing up to tell the story!

Mrs. AnnMarie Cross
Crosswinds Equine Rescue, Inc.
a non-profit, 501c3 pending corporation


Articles, columns, and letters to the editor on the topic of health care can be accessed by clicking here to view our Health Care issues category, or you can click on it on the left side of our home page under "Issues."


Do you have thoughts, ideas or comments on this letter? Send a letter about a letter to the editor! Address it to Don't forget to include your full name and town/city where you live!