|Residents fighting horse
BY CRISTEL MOHRMAN
A bill slated
to go before the Illinois House of Representatives this week has
received the backing of some Barrington-area residents. Animal
rights advocates are joining forces to prevent horse slaughtering
from taking place in Illinois.
attended a press conference last month in North Barrington, where
they saw video footage comparing horse euthanasia to slaughter.
the animal rights organization Showing Animals Respect and
Kindness (SHARK), the video first showed an euthanization, where a
horse was kept company and calmly stroked during its final moments
The second half
of the video was shot at a slaughter house, where horses are
trapped in narrow pens and shot repeatedly with a bolt gun. After
finally falling to the ground, their lifeless bodies are then hung
from the ceiling by their hind legs.
taking an animal that has been a human companion its entire life
and then we are leading it to its horrific death," North
Barrington resident Kelly Mazeski said.
It is scenes
like this that area horse advocates hope to prevent.
United States' only two horse slaughterhouses are in Texas and
have been declared illegal by the Texas Attorney General.
If the pending
bill fails, Illinois could soon become the only other state to
International, a DeKalb slaughterhouse that burned down in 2002,
is under reconstruction. When it reopens, the plant will export
horse meat to Europe and other countries for consumption.
supporters hope to prevent the slaughterhouse from opening its
doors next year. Representatives from Geneva-based SHARK have
spent recent months traveling to the Barrington area, as well as
Chicago, Rockford, Springfield and Peoria, to share their message
Barrington resident Carole Bieniek heard about their local visit
from Mazeski, who is a SHARK member. A horse owner who is training
to become a horse massage therapist, Bieniek said she was shocked
to learn slaughter was taking place.
unbelievably hard to watch. It's cruel," she said. "I'm
trying to make them feel better, and they are slaughtering them in
a nasty manner."
Steve Hindi likened the export of horse meat to Asian consumption
of cats and dogs.
Europeans want to kill horses, let them kill horses in Europe
until we can bring them along," he said.
opposition is supported by the Hooved Animal Humane Society, but
some professed animal rights advocates have opposed the bill.
Hindi and other
supporters were upset that Donna Ewing, president and founder of
the Barrington Hills-based Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection
Society, testified last fall against the bill to the executive
committee of the House of Representatives. She has also declined
invitations to debate her stance with SHARK, Hindi said.
Ewing could not
be reached Tuesday for comment.
are urging state legislators to support it. SHARK has posted
information and a petition online at www.horsekillers.com.
she has contacted state officials about the issue and hopes the
bill gains broader support.
way they are going to change that ban is to have people call their
(legislators)," she said.
A federal bill
is also pending that would ban horse slaughter and exportation of
live horses and horse meat for human consumption nationwide.
Hindi said if
the Illinois bill fails this week, SHARK activists will continue
to fight slaughter and gain support as the word gets out.
law doesn't pass this time around, it will be back. The
controversy will only grow," he said.
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