June 2, 2007

A United States judge has allowed the Illinois horse slaughter plant to effectively resume operations while it challenges a new state law banning the practice.

The Cavell International plant, which exports horse meat for human consumption, was thought closed for good after the Illinois legislature and the state governor enacted a law banning slaughter for human consumption.

But the day after Governor Rod Blagojevich signed it into law, Cavell filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state law. Additionally, the plant requested injunctive relief, which was the subject of a hearing late this week. The judge ruled in the plant's favour.


"Horse slaughter will soon come to an end, it is only a matter of how many poor horses will die in the meantime."
- Chris Heyde
Opponents of the slaughter trade have criticised the decision by Judge Frederick Kapala of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. His ruling allows the horse slaughter plant to temporarily evade prosecution under the newly enacted Illinois law.

The new law, which was strongly supported by the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL), passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the Illinois legislature.

"

by temporarily enjoining enforcement of Illinois law, the ruling will allow Cavel International to resume its slaughter of America's horses, a practice that continues to be abhorred not only by people of Illinois but by citizens all across America," noted Tracy Silverman, a lawyer with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

Cavel International sets forth a variety of arguments in its lawsuit to invalidate the new state law. AWI says some of these arguments were recently rejected by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a separate challenge of a Texas law banning the sale of horsemeat for human consumption.

In coming days, the law firm of Patton Boggs will be filing documents with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of AWI and SAPL in opposition to Cavel International's attempt to use the court system to legalise horse slaughter in Illinois.

"Cavel is merely choosing to drag its feet on the issue instead of accepting the will of Illinois citizens to rid their state of this despicable industry," said SAPL deputy legislative director Chris Heyde.

"But whether they like it or not, horse slaughter will soon come to an end, it is only a matter of how many poor horses will die in the meantime."