(Edited press release)
A bill introduced Feb. 22 in the Illinois state legislature would prohibit the transportation of horses into the state for the sole purpose of slaughter for human consumption. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Bob Molaro.
A Belgian company, Cavel International, runs a horse slaughter plant near DeKalb, Ill. There are three slaughter houses in the country, and the other two are located in Fort Worth and Kaufman, Texas. A recent federal court decision upheld a Texas state law banning the sale of horsemeat for human consumption.
“When I read about the decision upholding a longstanding Texas law which bans the slaughter of horses for human consumption, I was thrilled to learn that two of the remaining three companies engaged in this grisly business had finally been shut down.” said Molaro.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Agriculture supported a similar bill when it was last introduced, and it is anticipated that they will support it again. Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky is leading the federal effort with a bill co-sponsored by Reps. John Spratt and Ed Whitfield. Similar legislation is pending in the U.S. Senate.
“Illinois has long been a leader in animal protection and anti-cruelty laws, and as such, it is high time we put an end to equine cruelty and join Texas and all other U.S. states in protecting horses from needless slaughter,” said Molaro.
In May of 2004 a similar bill easily passed the Illinois Senate, but was narrowly defeated in the House because of an unrelated issue. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just over 100,000 American horses were slaughtered last year.