The Illinois Senate passed a bill May 16 that would end horse slaughter for human consumption in the state. The bill, which passed by a vote of 39-16, was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives last month and now goes to Gov. Blagojevich for his signature.
Because Blagojevich has been an advocate for banning horse slaughter, he is expected to sign the bill into law.
Illinois is currently home to the only active horse slaughter plant in the country. The Cavel International slaughterhouse, located in DeKalb, Ill., was shut down earlier this year after a federal court order halted federal inspection of horses, which is required for the slaughterhouse to operate. However, the plant reopened after an appeals court granted the company a stay May 1 while it is considering an appeal of the order.
The two other slaughter plants in the country are located in Texas and were shut down after a 1949 state law banning the sale of horsemeat for human consumption was upheld by the entire 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals March 5.
The issue of horse slaughter has been a volatile one on the federal level as well. The U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee voted 15-7 last month in favor of sending the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to be considered before the full Senate. In 2006, the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 263-146, but was not acted upon by the Senate before it adjourned for the year.