Friday, February 23, 2007

Horse Slaughter bill considered in Illinois

DeKalb, Illinois is home to one of only two plants in the United States (the other is in Kauffman Texas), that slaughter horses. There has been a long brewing debate in Illinois about this practice, with legislation introduced almost annually on banning the practice. In prior years these bills have died for a variety of reasons, but seem to get closer each time.

Another bill has been introduced this year that would seek to limit the ability to import horses into Illinois for slaughter. Horse meat is not something that you usually go to the supermarket to pick up for dinner. Most of it is exported to countries whose cultures accept it as part of the food chain.

Advocates for keeping the plants operable in the US, say that closing the plants would lead to abuse of horses, especially those that are older and need to be put down. Livestock industry supporters in general worry that if this is allowed to pass, then other industries would also be vulnerable.

However on the other side of the fence are the animal rights advocates who claim this is inhuman way to treat animals and the practice should be stopped.

An anti-slaughter bill was passed by the Illinois Senate in 2004, but was
defeated in the House.
“This year, we are confident the legislation will
clear both houses and be signed into law by Governor Blagojevich,” said Chris
Heyde, deputy legislative director of the Society for Animal Protective
Legislation. “Horse owners, veterinarians, residents of Illinois, and the
American people want an end to slaughter, and Illinois legislators are standing
up to end this cruel industry.”

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