Wednesday, March 31, 2004
With all due respect to Mr. Seiffe, live
horses are what make a solid contribution to the Illinois
OPINION: The Democratsí Jobs Outsourcing Plan," March
As a thoroughbred racehorse trainer, let me
give you an example of the income we generate:
The Daily Chronicle stated that
the Cavel International horse slaughter plant pays $90,000 in
property tax, and that it will provide 30 to 40 jobs with an
annual payroll of one million dollars. This is supposed to help
the economic picture in Illinois?
Lets compare this one million dollar Cavel
payroll to the payroll of just one of the hundreds of Illinois
based race horse trainers.
Here's the breakdown on one horse stable at
10 grooms @ 300/week=156,000/year
6 hotwalkers @ 200/week=62,400/year
4 exercise riders @ 500/week=104,000/year
1 asst, trainer @ 800/week=42,000/year
1 night watchman @ 250/week=12,500/year
1 trainer @ 5,000 week=260,000/year
Total: one race horse trainer annual payroll =
Multiply this by the number of 40+ horse
stables right now at Hawthorne, and letís be conservative and
say there are only 20:
640,000 X 20 = a little over 12.8 million!
So our 20 forty-horse stables, equaling a
total of 800 horses, who represent a small fraction of the
actual number of race horses in Illinois, (I believe there are
approximately 20,000) generate $12.8 million in taxable income.
Now this is economics that is of some value! And we are just
Let's not forget that we did not include the
dozens of mid-size stables of 10 - 20 horses each, and the
dozens of stables with less than 10 horses each. And keep in
mind that we are talking about the current meeting at Hawthorne,
which is only one of the five Illinois racetracks.
Nor have I included the millions and millions
of dollars in sales tax generated by the sale of feed, bedding,
hay, health care products, tack, farriers, veterinarians etc.,
from horses as a non-food producing animal.
Nor did we include the millions and millions
of dollars we trainers and owners pay in workman's comp
insurance and equine insurance, liability insurance, property
tax and property insurance!!
Give me a break, Mr. Seiffe, a horse slaughter
plant is not even worth mentioning in the same sentence
with the word economics and/or horse.
As far as your comments about the horse
slaughter trade not being inhumane, clearly you know nothing of
which you speak. We the professional horseman of Illinois have
taken a stand to protect our horses.
Do you profess that you would know what is
better or more humane for our horses than we, who work with and
care for them each and every day? If the horse slaughter trade
was so humane, why does every nationally recognized humane
association condemn this practice? If horse slaughter was so
humane, why are we fighting to spare our horses from this fate?
Good grief, Mr. Seiffe, would you like to have the reader
believe that horses actually enjoy being slaughtered?
Why don't you stick to whatever it is that you
do, and leave the horse business to the Illinois horse racing
industry, which generates over $3.8 billion and provides over
35,000 full-time jobs directly, each and every year to the
economy of Illinois? We are the people contributing billions to
the Illinois economy, not Cavel International.
I, for one, am disgusted by anyone who seeks
to defend this business and am even more repulsed by the
legislators who were swayed by "meat" industry special
interests to vote against the legislation the horse
industry desires to protect our life's work!
If the state of Illinois is to allow our
horses to be part of the food chain, I, and thousands of other
horse owners, will immediately be filing for our sales tax
exempt status that all owners and raisers of food producing
animals enjoy. We will see how healthy that makes the state's
bottom line look next year.
By a conservative estimate, Illinois will lose
well over $50 million every year in state sales tax revenue, all
for the sake of one unnecessary little horse slaughter plant,
which, by the way, will soon not even have a market for its
The younger generations of French people are
even finding it revolting to eat horsemeat. In fact, due to the
health concerns associated with eating drug-laden horsemeat, the
French government has banned horsemeat for sale in French
restaurants. How long do you figure it will be before it is
banned in the markets as well?
Don't believe me? Read it for yourselves, "French
kicking the horse habit." Horse slaughter? It sounds
like a lose/lose proposition for Illinois to me.