Posted: 5/29/2004 5:10:00 PM ET
Illinois House votes down measure banning horse slaughter
Thoroughbred Times
Illinoisís House of Representatives voted 60-51 on Friday against a bill that would have banned the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the state after a similar measure recently passed the state Senate.

The bill was an attempt to thwart one of only three United States slaughterhouses that processes horses for human consumption, Cavel International Inc, in DeKalb, from reopening this spring after their original plant burned down. Cavel, which is based in Belgium and exports horsemeat to Europe, can now reopen.

Despite the billís passage in the Senate, at least one House member said he believes horses should be treated like all other livestock and sent to slaughter no matter how appalling it appears.

"I have never seen anything slap Illinois agriculture in the face more than this bill does," Republican Representative Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica), told the Associated Press.

Another opponent of the measure said he resented the involvement of actress Bo Derek, who testified last week before the state Senate on the matter, and questioned the constitutional ramifications that the ban might contain, stating that it would be wrong to legislate what individuals can consume.

"I find it insulting that weíre now governing by celebrity," state Representative Charles Morrow (D-Chicago) told Arlington Heightís Daily Herald about Derekís interest in banning horse slaughter, adding that the nationís senior citizens, many of whom struggle financially, should think about adding horsemeat to their diets.

"I've got seniors eating cat food," he continued. "Maybe they ought to eat a horse. If you can eat Bo Peep, Bugs Bunny and Bambi, why can't you eat Mr. Ed?"

Derek did not lobby at state House committee meetings, according to the newspaper. A resident of California, Derek visited Illinois thanks to Arlington Park, which supported the ban and paid for her trip.

"Cattle and pigs are bred to be slaughtered," said state Representative Bob Molaro (D-Chicago), the billís sponsor. "We don't breed horses to be slaughtered. We use them not only as companion animals, but animals that serve us."