March 18, 2004
Contact: Gail Vacca, 815-761-4937,


Chicago, IL -- Illinois horsemen, members of the animal protection community and "Lucky," a horse saved from becoming a European dinner who has taught hundreds of Chicago children the joys of horseback riding, joined Representative Robert Molaro to show support for Illinois Senate Bill 1921 which prohibits the slaughter in Illinois of American horses for human consumption.

The bill would prevent the re-opening of the Belgian-owned horse slaughtering facility Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, which is equipped to slaughter 100 American horses a day. If Cavel International reopens, Illinois along with Texas, will be the only states in the U.S. which currently slaughter American horses for exportation to Europe for human consumption.

"American's don't raise horses for food," said Illinois Representative Robert Molaro, sponsor of SB 1921, "Horses are revered in American culture for good reason. They have been a true partner to us since our country began, from the building of our infrastructure to the tilling of our fields. It's grossly unjust to raise horses to service us and then turn around and dishonestly serve them. If the Belgians and French want to eat horses, let them eat their own. I say let them eat cake!" The Illinois bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Mary Flowers, Robert Rita, Steve Davis, John Fritchey and Rosemary Kurtz; Senate sponsors include: Senators Christine Radogno, Ray Soden, John Cullerton, Iris Martinez, Jacqueline Collins and William Peterson.

More than 49,000 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. last year at the two foreign-owned slaughterhouses in Texas. The horsemeat was then exported to Europe and Asia where it is considered a delicacy.

"The horses bound for slaughter often travel hundreds or thousands of miles in cramped quarters without adequate food or water, and the process used to kill these beautiful animals is neither humane nor acceptable," said Gail Vacca of the National Horse Protection Coalition.

Also at issue is that horses raised in the United States are not raised or regulated for food production. "These animals routinely receive medications that are clearly labeled by the Federal Drug Administration as 'not meant for animals used for human consumption,'" said Dr. Lydia Gray, executive director of the Hooved Animal Humane Society. "Slaughter-bound horses are also not tested for a host of equine disease including West Nile virus."

Currently a similar federal bill to outlaw the slaughter of horses for the exportation of meat for human consumption, HR 857, has 184 co-sponsors including 12 Illinoisans: Rep. Jerry Costello, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Judy Biggert, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Lane Evans, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. William Lipinski, Rep. Janice Schakowsky and Rep. Jerry Weller.

Senate Bill 1921 is supported by: Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association, Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727, Arlington Park, Balmoral Park, Fairmont Park, Hawthorne National Racecourse, Maywood Park, the Central Illinois Humane Society, among others.

Molaro bill update

SB 1921 is awaiting a vote during the spring session.

On November 18, the House Executive Committee recommended that House Amendment No. 1 to SB 1921 be adopted. The bill now goes to the full House.

On November 6, Rep. Bob Molaro's bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption was added to Senate Bill 1921 as House Amendment No. 1.