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Horse slaughter in Illinois

Contact: Chris Heyde, 703-836-4300

April 19, 2007

Illinois House Says "No" to Horse Slaughter

SPRINGFIELD, IL (April 19, 2007) - The Illinois House of Representatives voted 75-40 Wednesday on H.B. 1711, a bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption. The legislation will now move on to the Illinois Senate, with the goal of stopping the cruel practice in the state.

DeKalb, Ill. is home to the Cavel International Inc. slaughterhouse, one of three foreign-owned plants remaining in the United States. Until recently, it was the only plant actively killing horses, but it has been shut down in response to a federal court ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) and other animal protection organizations against the US Department of Agriculture.

"Illinois has become the leader in putting an end to horse slaughter," said SAPL Deputy Director Chris Heyde. "The House vote sends a loud and clear message that Illinois will not be the last home to horse slaughter in the United States. Illinois will be known as the state rejecting horse slaughter."

A similar measure passed the State Senate several years ago, but fell just short of passage in the House because of unrelated issues. This year, State Representative Bob Molaro (D-Chicago) reintroduced the bill. SAPL now calls on the Illinois Senate to join Molaro and his House colleagues, as well as State Senator John Cullerton, Governor Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Agriculture, in opposition to the practice.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke stated that horse slaughter "is inhumane because our society considers horses to be companion animals or pets." He continued, "there is no domestic market for horse meat for human consumption and therefore no need to continue this practice in the state of Illinois."

Compassionate actress Bo Derek traveled to Illinois with SAPL again this year to help raise awareness for the bill and talk to members of the legislature. "Horses are an essential part of the American spirit," she said. "As a lifelong equestrian and horse owner, I am overjoyed that this legislation has moved another step closer to protecting these magnificent animals."

In the US Congress, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act has been introduced as H.R. 503 and S. 311 to end horse slaughter for human consumption and prevent the animals' export for the same purpose. For more information on the national bill, please visit

The Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the Animal Welfare Institute's legislative arm, is the unsurpassed leader in obtaining laws to benefit animals in need, including the protection of domestic and wild horses.



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