Twelve letters -- Unhappy about the horse slaughter bill
Friday, June 04, 2004
(Related columns and letters below)
The following letters are in response to "Horse slaughter bill not done yet, senate sponsor says," June 2, 2004:

Representative Charles Morrow has made Illinois politics look very foolish. "If you can eat Bo Peep, Bugs Bunny and Bambi, why can't you eat Mr. Ed?" Little Bo Peep was a little girl. Americans choose to eat rabbit and deer meat. Americans have already chosen not to eat our horses. Horses are not a part of America's food chain. I'm embarrassed for the citizens of Illinois, having this kind of representation.

Illinois Representatives should be representing the views and desires of its constituents, not representing European interests in this country. Why should a Belgium company be able to dictate US policy?

This fight to end American horse slaughter has nothing to do with what Europeans eat or don't eat. It is about European countries setting up a business here in the United States--slaughtering our horses for human consumption when the majority of Americans consider this unacceptable.

Proponents of slaughter support their stance by saying opponents are acting emotional. How about the facts we keep presenting? Out of more than 6 million horses in the US, approximately 10% die each year from all causes. Approximately 49,000 were slaughtered last year. So around 600,000 died that were not slaughtered and eaten by Europeans. America managed to take care of 600,000, we can take care of the remaining 49,000.

Illinois wants to increase jobs in DeKalb; fine. It is a slaughter facility; let Cavel slaughter cows, pigs, or chickens. They are a part of America's food chain and eating them is acceptable.

But they want to slaughter American horses because of the quality care we give our horses--our companions, thus producing prime meat. And because they make over $40 million dollars a year selling it overseas.

Another fact folks: 90% of horses slaughtered are not old, skinny, and on death's doorstep. This is factual data from the two slaughter facilities in Texas. They are young, healthy, viable animals that should not end up on European tables.

This country sells its products through celebrities. Using Ms. Derek is just good business and should not be ridiculed by Illinois representatives when each one has probably purchased something advertised by celebrities; whether it be a movie, beef, milk, leather, etc. The fact that she chose to publicly support an issue that effects her personally as a horse owner, is her right as an American and I thank her.

The facts should speak for themselves and Representatives should behave rationally when voting on a bill; not acting like spoiled little children. I really feel sorry for Rep. Morrow's constituents, since he obviously has done such a poor job representing them, if they have to eat cat food.

I applaud and thank Representative Cullerton for not giving up. At least Illinois citizens still have someone truly representing them!

Patricia Fitzgerald
Paige, Texas


President Reagan has had a couple of great loves in his life. He loved leading by example and governing based upon principles of truth and justice which are rarely seen in politicians today. He loved encouraging independence and sound thinking among America's citizens. And showing people they did not have to stay dependent on the government; that each one of us could succeed and live our dreams. He loved his family. And, most importantly this week, he loved horses.

Reagan's love for horses was legendary. He could always be found spending his free time on a horse, exploring the beautiful countryside of California. His favorite was a beautiful, nearly white Arabian, El Alamein. Reagan loved doing the chores around the ranch and making sure his horses lived an idyllic existence.

The President couldn't go to church because of the commotion it caused, so he worshipped at home on his ranch, calling it his "cathedral in the sky". It was this place where he mucked his own stalls and fixed the fences for the horse pasture, where he felt closest to God.

We all weep for the President's illness, but this week I am glad he has been spared seeing some members of his own Party vote in favor of a foreign slaughterhouse cruelly butchering the animals he loved so much in his home state of Illinois.

If you voted against HB 649 - Shame on you!

Cathy Atkinson
Santa Monica, California


I speak on behalf of myself and many others in claiming that the behavior of our IL House of Representatives on Friday, May 28, 2004 was despicable! Judging from the debacle, which occurred when the Illinois House of Representatives was called to vote on a bill banning horse slaughter in IL, it was clear that our representatives were intent on turning what has taken years of struggle for many hard-working people into a joke!

Skirting around the issue was the Lame Duck Representative Charles Morrow, who ventured such claims that his people are starving and “eating cat food” because they are financially struggling to make ends meet. He proposed that his poor senior citizens and those struggling financially should consider adding horsemeat to their diets. Of course he is not speaking of the very horsemeat that costs around fifteen to twenty dollars a pound. That doesn’t sound too financially prudent to me.

Perhaps he should focus on what’s going on in his own community where he is the target of claims that he isn’t “bringing home the bacon”. I’m sure the voters in his district would rather have him bringing home the bacon instead of bringing home the horsemeat.

Or perhaps he’d rather have his cat food-eating citizens eat what I wouldn’t even feed to my dogs. I am sure Mr. Morrow merely overlooked the fact that our horses contain a myriad of drugs and substances which have no published exit times from the horses’ bodies to date. These drugs include but are not limited to: Ivermectin (active ingredient in de-wormers), henylbutazone (active ingredient in something similar to “horse aspirin”), Progestin (the hormone found in many drugs controlling estrus in mares…), and surprisingly, these are all components of the most basic horse care--drugs any person eating an American companion animal known as a horse could be in danger of consuming, and never knowing it.

If horses were regulated as food animals and monitored for these substances, who would end up paying the price? The horse owners of course; those who help the 4 billion dollar horse industry in Illinois to thrive. At their expense and the health of their horses, horse owners would be “hoofing” the bills to pay for the development of safer-for-humans and less-effective-for-horses pharmaceutical alternatives which will ultimately cost more money for horse owners and pose unnecessary health risks to their horses.

I for one will not support horse slaughter to continue in my state. And as a voter and citizen of Illinois who feels very strongly about this issue, I will not support those who voted no on this bill. I will also not support having to pay extra for healthcare products for my horses, nor alter my healthcare regimen for them just to calm the fears of those pleasing their palate with this so-called delicacy.

Not only that, but what about the sales tax issue? Will horse products such as feed continue to be taxed as companion animal products and not food animal products which would give horse-owners a bit of a break, especially after owners will now have to pay for a special ID program for their horses as they change faces from Mr. Ed to Mr. Edible?

So to Mr. Jim Sacia, who claims that a ban on horse slaughter would be a “slap in the face” to Illinois agriculture…think again. Anything less than a ban on horse slaughter in the state of Illinois would be a slap in the face to those who financially support your agricultural enterprise--or at least 4 billion dollars of it--the horse owners of Illinois.

"Animals do feel like us, also joy, love, fear and pain but they cannot grasp the spoken word. It is our obligation to take their part and continue to resist the people who profit by them, who slaughter them and who torture them."--Denis de Rougement

Amanda Karkula
President of RSO: Students Against the Slaughter of Horses (S.A.S.H.)
Homer Township
To the voting public of Illinois:

A few days ago a vote went forth in the Illinois House that would've ended the mass suffering of one of mankind's greatest and most noble allies--the American horse.

There were those of you who promised and gave your word to vote in favor of HB649. A sought after and blessed end would've come to the deplorable, cruel, abusive slaughter of horses. Evidently, integrity and honesty is not your foundation. You did not stand by your honor or your word! You waited until the last minute and voted to let this agonizing practice continue.

I hope everyone who "sold out" is feeling happy and satisfied about what you've done! Do you sport a clear conscience these days? You chose the ways of a non-voting, un-American, barbaric society over the desires and wants your own voting people! Shame on you! Your dreams should be full of wonderful imagery these nights. Your dreams should be full of young, vibrant mares with babies at their sides, the littlest ponies, purebred horses of all kinds, donkeys like the one that carried Jesus throughout the streets of Jerusalem. The abusive bloodbath continues thanks to you.!

We the people have a right to have our voices heard in a national vote regarding horse slaughter. Let "the people" decide because we are the only ones who have common sense and who cannot be bought; 85% of us have already said no to horse slaughter! I honestly believe in my ability as a registered voter to make a difference here. My vote, for the record, is to abolish this horrible practice.

It's a sad, sad day in history when elected representatives don't stand by, nor honor their word. Again I say, shame on you!

Ramona Foxworth
Lubbock, Texas


As for the wild horses and burros, I say leave them alone. It is a disgrace that the laws instigated to protect them have instead facilitated processing them into sausages.

I'm sick of people exploiting animals for personal financial gain and that includes Bureau of Land Management employees who make huge profits at slaughterhouses selling "adopted" mustangs.

I'm sick of the BLM mismanagement of millions of dollars in federal funds. Congress approved our tax dollars to protect wild horses and burros, not to line the pockets of BLM employees and their infinite number of fictitious friends and relatives; nor Belgian horse meat companies who never had it so good in our land of plenty.

As for horse slaughterer Tucker and his lousy "40 jobs" and "economy for Dekalb" -- what a load of horse manure! When Luc Van Dame, Cavel's Belgian owner, and his hired lawyer tried to muscle in on the tiny town of Big Foot in 1998-1999, Big Foot threw them and their tiresome "40 jobs" and "economy" out of McHenry Country with a vote of 22-1. If the tiny town of Big Foot could see no economic benefit from a slaughterhouse that shipped its product out of the county, out of the United States of America, there is something wrong with Dekalb officials for not doing the same. I can only assume that in McHenry County, there was only one vote for sale.

Mark Heck
Lake Zurich


We as tax payers have stated that we oppose horse slaughter. This dirty business is now increasing Texas. USDA stats indicate that 907 horses were slaughtered there in one day. This could only mean two things; that they know their day is numbered, and that the federal judge is going to shut them down for operating illegally for years, or the Ban alert of Texas Horses, banned from Kentucky due to the (V.S.) Vesicular Stomatitis outbreak, and now their days are numbered. These are young, healthy horses not unwanted--just unlucky. And greedy men and women that want to profit off their death, simple as that.

It's like the movie Scarface; deal drugs and sell to the foreigners and if you hurt my business they will kill more horses. Why cant marijuana be legal if we sell to foreigners? Reps and senators that sellout to the buck should be discarded publicly so should Mr. Charles Morrow, as he made a stupid statement. Bo Peep was a little child. Maybe Morrow should be behind bars eating cat food or dog food. Statements like that show stupidity. I know Illinois needs jobs, but gee, let's get respectful jobs. Not foreigners that are exempt from the export ban as our American beef and pork has been--and pay no export tax as others do. And they have more drugs in their horsemeat than any beef product ever had.

Tucker is a joke. He needs to be on Osama bin ladin's side; he's a sellout to America. We don't want nuts like that in business anywhere in the US.

Horse slaughter is an insult to responsible and caring horse owners. If I must remind the elected officials, we put you in office and we can take you out. Wake up and listen to your voters plea--no to horse slaughter in America? From a Responsible caring horse owner and trainer.

Thomas Lee Trevino


I think this is very wrong, terribly cruel, and unnecessary. I emailed officials and tried to pass the word to others to do the same.

I pray every night for this not to pass, as well as for the cessation of it in the other states it takes place in--TX and NB.

Horses are beautiful, intelligent, and very useful. They have been used as guide animals for the blind (miniature horses), helped a young girl with spina bifida to walk again after learning to ride, and helped a young autistic man.

Patricia L. Foley
Des Plaines


Trent Loos is an arrogant idiot {"GUEST OPINION: Out to greener pastures," May 18, 2004].

Anyone who truly loves his/her horse as Mr. Loos claims he did, will have it humanely euthanized at home. The unknowing carcass can then be hauled away to the rendering plant for pet food or whatever.

This would cost approximately $200. Mr. Loos had his live, lame horse hauled away to a frightening, brutal death, for a measly $280. Best friend?

I am against horse slaughter for human consumption. My reasons are amply spelled out by others more eloquent than I. The facts are available, including videos. Interested parties may search online, under "horse slaughter ban", and other means.

Disabled, aged, and/or suffering horses may be cheaply and mercifully euthanized at home. Carcass disposal is readily and economically available.

We need not fuel the depravity of other cultures.

B. Witt
Tacoma, WA


I am upset and angry about the defeat of the horse slaughter ban in IL and the controversy surrounding State Representative Charles Morrow.

Horses, just like cats and dogs, are classified as companion/recreational animals. The difference lies in the fact that horsemeat gets shipped to Europe.

Why not kill cats and dogs, who are also classified as companion animals, and ship their meat to China or Korea? It's the same scenario, but I bet the lawmakers would definitely have a problem with this.

Ursula Pelka
Edina, MN


I was blind by the fact I didn't think we slaughtered horses over here in the United States since we don't eat them. I didn't even know about the premare urine farms until now. But learning all the facts made me realize how cruel we are to our horses ["Horse slaughter bill not done yet, senate sponsor says," June 2, 2004].

They say the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. But how far do you think we have come? Not very far as long as we allow the foreign-owned slaughterhouses to come over to our country and kill our horses for $15 million.

What do you think? I support SB 1921 and its first amendment to stop the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the State of Illinois. I wish more US citizens would stand up and fight against horse slaughter.

Marion Richardson
Alexandria, Virginia


I've been following the Illinois horse slaughter battle and find the statements made by Illinois Representatives Sacia and Morrow to be disgraceful. Their statements insult the Illinois Senate, Illinois Governor Blagojovich, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois horse racing associations, and Ms. Derek.

Mr. Sacia apparently doesn't realize that allowing Cavel to operate in Illinois is truly a slap in the face to Illinois beef cattle raisers. Europe does not allow the import of American beef. Since the horsemeat produced by Cavel is exported overseas, that is where the profit is realized. Illinois farmers and the Illinois economy do not benefit. Let's also not forget that the European Union imposes a 20% import tariff on American beef, yet horsemeat producers like Belgian owned Cavel only have to pay 5%. Quite unfair to American agriculture if you ask me.

Horses are not raised or regulated as food animals in America. They are commonly treated with products such as Phenylbutazone and dewormers, such products cannot be given to food animals such as cattle under penalty of law. Every horse slaughtered for European export has these products in their system. The IL Dept. of Agriculture supports the ban for this reason, they do not want a tainted product such as this exported from their state.

All of those chemicals don't make horsemeat a good alternative for senior citizens Mr. Morrow. It isn't cheap either at $15/LB on the European market. Kind of makes expensive cat food look cheap, doesn't it? Also, Morrow forgets that there are laws pertaining to what people consume with specific regard to cannibalism; which Mr. Morrow seems to be suggesting since Bo Peep is a little girl. I would suggest all Illinoisians who have children to keep a close eye on them until Mr. Morrow leaves office in November.

Finally, celebrities have been involved in politics for years. California's current governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ronald Reagan is also one of our notable former governors. The list goes on and on. But apparently Mr. Morrow lives in his own sheltered world, unaware of this.

Your fine publication states that Bo Derek herself promoted President Bush in 2000 and addressed the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia that summer. I don't recall Mr. Gore raising a fuss about this particular item when he lost in 2000.

Friday's events in Illinois are a slap in the face to the American horse industry as well as American morals and values. All I can say to those Illinois Representatives who killed this legislation is be aware of the sleeping giant they have awoken.

Duane L. Burright, Jr.
Malibu, CA


This letter is in reference to HB 649, amendment #4 which would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in IL. Last week (5/20), the IL Senate passed the ban. This week (5/28), the IL House did not pass the ban (go to to find out how your Rep/Sen. voted). I would like to thank those Senators and Representatives who voted 'yes', and to those who voted 'no', I have written the following letter:

"I would like to express my extreme disappointment in your 'no' vote today on amendment 4 of HB 649, which would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in IL.

Despite polls, petitions, and legislator contact proving public opinion is in favor of banning horse slaughter; despite all of the pro-slaughter arguments being reasonably refuted; despite the fact that horses are routinely medicated with products clearly marked "not intended for human consumption"; despite the fact that horses will now be subject to unimaginable cruelty, both in transport and slaughter; despite the fact that horse owners will again have to worry about their horses being stolen for slaughter; despite the fact that thousands of young, viable American horses will again end up on foreign dinner plates by way of IL; despite the fact that old horses are not desired as meat (the list could go on and on); you still decided to vote 'no'.

I guess I just don't understand. Do you like horses? Then why would you want them subjected to this? Do you not care about horses? Then don't you care about meat safety and public opinion?

Thanks in part to your vote, 100 horses a day will enter Dekalb, IL alive (many of them still young and ridable--all of them still worth loving), and then, after a gruesome death, will be packaged as meat.

Thanks in part to your vote, people in foreign countries will be eating meat tainted by medications not intended for food animals.

Thanks in part to your vote, people will sell their horses "to a good home", only to find out that they went to slaughter.

Thanks in part to your vote, a young girl could run out to the pasture to find her beloved horse stolen, due to potential profits from horse slaughter.

Thanks in part to your vote, workers will again be subjected to physical injury and mental and emotional damage.

I would also like to thank you personally for again allowing Dekalb, IL to become the "horse slaughter capitol of the Midwest". Horse slaughter survives in the US for no reason other than greed. I have yet to hear an argument that proves this statement wrong (and I have heard many).

I don't know why you would vote 'no', but I do know that you made a mistake which you will someday realize.

Melanie Nelson


Related articles:
"Three letters against horse slaughter," May 25, 2004
"'Pierre' meet Mr. Heimlich," May 20, 2004
"GUEST OPINION: Out to greener pastures," May 18, 2004
"Two letters in support of horse slaughter ban," April 22, 2004
"Constituent urges Rep. Lindner et al to reverse horse slaughter vote," April 15, 2004
"11 letters skewering horse slaughter company," January 27, 2004
"Protect companion animals," January 23, 2004
"Legislation proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois," January 19, 2004


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