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Horse slaughter in Illinois

Contact: Gail Vacca, 815-761-4937

April 2, 2009

Please help us respond to Rep. Sacia's campaign of misinformation!

Many of you probably listened to the floor debate yesterday on IL HB 583 and I'm sure that those of you who did were likely as disappointed and angry as I was with the lies and misinformation offered up in debate by Rep. Jim Sacia and several other pro-slaughter IL Representatives.

We need to get the facts out to the IL General Assembly and we must not allow this misinformation to go unrebutted. Please take the time to draft a letter to email to as many IL Reps and media outlets as you possibly can. I've provided some talking points for you to use in your letters. A contact list of IL Reps and media follows below as well.

Thanks so much to everyone who helped make a difference yesterday. It was YOUR calls, letters, and emails that made the difference. While this battle is not yet over, we did indeed enjoy a minor victory yesterday, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please keep up the good fight!

Points we need to rebut:

1) Rep. Sacia stated that there are no vets who disagree that the captive bolt/horse slaughter is humane. As we all know, this is uncategorically FALSE. Please download the letter sent to Rep. Sacia from the Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. Please include a copy of the VEW letter with your letters/emails to IL members and media.

2) Rep. Sacia claimed that it is illegal to bury your horse in Illinois. This is NOT true. The link below clearly negates this claim. The criteria for carcass disposal/burial are laid out in this IL statute.

3) Rep. Sacia claimed that 60 horses were abused/neglected in Coles County due to Cavel's closure. This 60-horse seizure was took place in August 2007, while Cavel was still operating.

4) Rep. Sacia claimed that there are currently 185,000 abandoned horses.

He misspoke here. That is the alleged (and UNTRUE) "unwanted" horse number that several pro-slaughter groups have used. I believe this comes from adding up the 2007 slaughter figure, plus Mexico/Canada export numbers that year, plus mustangs in longterm/short-term holding, plus mustangs on the range.

The alleged horse abandonments have nearly all been investigated and proven to be false. The documentation debunking this pro-slaughter propaganda can be found here:

5) It was stated during debate that the only IL horseman's group opposed to horse slaughter was the IL HBPA. This is also UNTRUE. The overwhelming majority of IL professional horsemen, horsemen's groups, and horse owners oppose horse slaughter and Rep. Sacia's HB 583. These groups include:

The IL Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, IL Thoroughbred Horsmen's Association, IL Harness Horsemen's Association, IL Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association, Arlington Park, Hawthorne Racecourse, Fairmount Park, Maywood Park, Balmoral Park

6) It was stated that the IL equine rescue group HARPS strongly supported horse slaughter as a humane method of ending the life of a horse, and that HARPS believed that abuse and neglect have drastically increased since Cavel was closed. What they did not mention was that HARPS is the ONLY equine welfare group in IL that supports this position. All other IL equine welfare groups strongly oppose horse slaughter, as do all major national humane organizations. Those opposed to horse slaughter include:

Illinois Equine Welfare Groups:

Illinois Equine Humane Center (Wilmington, IL), Hooved Animal Humane Center (Woodstock, IL), Mid America Horse Rescue (Millstadt, IL), Crosswinds Equine Rescue (Tuscola, IL), Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption (St. Charles, IL), Society for Hooved Animal Rescue and Emergency (Champaign, IL), C.A.N.T.E.R. (Northern IL).

National Animal Welfare Groups:

Animal Welfare Institute, Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, CANTER-National, ReRun, Exceller Fund, Habitat for Horses, Homes for Horses Coalition, National Horse Protection League

7) It was stated that figures from the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)indicate that equine abuse and neglect have drastically increased since Cavel closed in 2007. There is no evidence to support this claim. The 2008 humane investigations audit forms have only recently been sent out to the state's investigative agencies and agents. Therefore, the data from 2008 has not yet even been collected by the IDOA. Furthermore, from 2002-2004 when Cavel was closed due to a fire at the plant, cases of abuse/neglect in IL actually declined!

8) In what was perhaps the most egregious of Rep. Sacia's claims, he stated that USDA inspections ensure that federal regulations with regard to the slaughter of horses in the United States are followed which results in the process being far more humane here in the States than in Mexico or Canada. Countless documents obtained via the FOIA from the USDA itself, clearly indicate that this is not the case. You can download a copy of the most recent USDA FOIA document here (WARNING: Contains graphic evidence of equine cruelty)

Also, please be certain to point out that should this bill pass and Cavel be allowed to reopen, federal legislation is in place that prohibits the USDA from participating in the inspection of horsemeat! This FACT alone should be enough to convince IL members that horse slaughter plants can no longer legally operate within Illinois or anywhere else within the United States.

Contact information for IL House Members and IL Media:

Please visit this link for a full listing of IL media outlets



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