June 30, 2007

The doors have been shut once again on Cavel International, America's only operating horse slaughter plant. Just hours before its temporary restraining order expired at midnight on Thursday night, US District Court Judge Frederick Kapala held an emergency hearing and denied Cavel's request that the court allow it to continue to evade prosecution under state law, pending the outcome of an appeal related to the case in the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Immediately following the passage in May of a new Illinois law that makes it a crime to slaughter horses for human consumption, Cavel had filed suit in federal court to challenge the mandate's enforceability. In early June, Judge Kapala granted Cavel a temporary restraining order, preventing the state from prosecuting the slaughterhouse under the law. He subsequently extended that protection for 10 business days.

"We commend Judge Kapala for making the legally sound decision in this case, and we appreciate having been given the opportunity to be heard as an amicus curiae," said Tracy Silverman, an attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

"His latest ruling is a victory for the people of Illinois, who do not want their state to be the only one in which the brutal practice of horse slaughter continues."

Attorneys for Cavel have indicated that they will likely appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals. Moreover, an appeal by the Humane Society of the United States on its motion to intervene, as well as Judge Kapala's final decision on the merits of Cavel's request for a permanent injunction, are still pending. However, yesterday's ruling will spare the lives of thousands of horses' lives in the meantime.

AWI is being represented in this matter by the nationally renowned law firm of Patton Boggs.

The Animal Welfare Institute, founded in 1951, is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans.