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Horse slaughter in Illinois

Contact: Chris Heyde 202-446-2142

February 23, 2009

Illinois Horse Slaughter Advocate Trying to Overturn Ban - Again

On Tuesday, February 24, the Illinois General Assembly’s Agriculture and Conservation Committee will consider H.B. 583, a bill designed to overturn the state’s ban on horse slaughter. The ban, which went into effect in 2007, closed the country’s last remaining horse slaughter plant – Cavel International (based in DeKalb, IL) – which was foreign-owned, marking the end to an utterly cruel practice that the majority of Americans oppose.

The sponsor of the pro-slaughter bill, Representative Jim Sacia, has a long history of fighting to keep horse slaughter alive despite strong opposition from the majority of Illinois residents and the American public. Rep. Sacia is out of step with public opinion and his effort is in vain; having sat empty for almost two years the former Cavel plant recently opened to slaughter non-equine species. Further, the U.S. Congress is currently considering the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which is anticipated to move quickly, and will prohibit the slaughter of horses here as well as their export for slaughter abroad.

What You Can Do

If you are from Illinois please click on the links below and call each member of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee, except for Rep. Sacia who also serves on the committee, and politely ask them to oppose H.B. 583. Contact information for committee members is shown below. Remind them that:

  • You oppose H.B. 583 because horse slaughter is a cruel and unnecessary practice.
  • The Illinois General Assembly banned horse slaughter by an overwhelming majority in 2007, and urge them to reject Representative Sacia’s bill, H.B. 583.
  • There is no evidence to support Rep. Sacia’s claims that Cavel’s closure has led to an increase in horse abandonment.
  • Ending horse slaughter stopped an overt form of animal cruelty and has only been good for the horses. The state ban is important.
  • Rep. Sacia complained that closing Cavel would put local workers out of business despite the cruelty of the industry. The building that formerly housed Cavel has recently re-opened to slaughter non-equine species, thus bring jobs and income to the local economy. His argument is even more irrelevant given this development.

Please also let them know that you support passage of the federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which is expected to move quickly this Congress. The bill will prohibit the slaughter of American horses throughout the United States as well as their export abroad for the same purpose.

Agriculture & Conservation Committee - Members
96th General Assembly

Role Representative Party
Chairperson : Brandon W. Phelps D
Vice-Chairperson: Patrick J Verschoore D
Republican Spokesperson: Jim Sacia R
Member: John D. Cavaletto R
Member: Shane Cultra R
Member: Lisa M. Dugan D
Member: Robert F. Flider D
Member: Mary E. Flowers D
Member: Julie Hamos D
Member: Donald L. Moffitt R
Member: Richard P. Myers R
Member: David Reis R
Member: Dan Reitz D

The hearing for Rep. Sacia’s bill is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24th. Please call every committee member and make sure they are aware of the facts on each bill.

Be sure to bookmark for updates on this hearing and other horse slaughter campaign information.

For over 57 years, the Animal Welfare Institute has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. To learn more about us, please visit



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