In May, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 61-50 to reject an amendment to a bill that would have banned the slaughtering of horses for food in that state.
The Illinois Senate had approved the amendment by a vote of 38-15, and there is still a small possibility that a conference committee to reconcile the different versions of the bill could yet reinstate the horse slaughter ban.
The ban is directed at Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, where horses are slaughtered and the meat packaged for export. The Illinois Leader reported Cavel International project manager James Tucker saying,
We’re getting a very loud minority who’s making a lot of noise about this. We shouldn’t be defining for other cultures what they eat . . . horsemeat exportation is a multi-million dollar business and good for Illinois’ economy.
Horse slaughter bill not done yet, senate sponsor says. Joyce Morrison, Illinois Leader, June 2, 2004.
In September, Cavel International finalized plans to rebuild a horse slaughterhouse in DeKalb, Illinois. The slaughterhouse burned down in 2002 in a fire whose cause has never been determined.
The slaughterhouse killed horses both for meat which was exported to Europe, as well as for rendering by-products.
Animal rights groups asked DeKalb to revoke the permit to rebuild the slaughterhouse, but that seemed unlikely. Both of the DeKalb area’s representatives to the Illinois state house, for example, said they would oppose proposed state legislation that would ban horse slaughter in Illinois.
Rep. Brad Burzynski (R) told The DeKalb Chronicle that, “It’s a job issue. It’s an issue of keeping a company viable in this district.” Once rebuilt, the slaughterhouse would create about 40 jobs.
Plans finalized to rebuild Illinois slaughterhouse. BloodHorse.Com, September 15, 2003.
Horse-slaughter bill won’t affect Cavel’s decision. Chris Rickert, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, November 1, 2003.
Horse Slaughterhouse, Candelight Vigil. United Animal Nations, September 17, 2003.
Vigil in Protest of Slaughterhouse Rebuilding. Habitat for Horses, September 2003.