Illinois equine welfare groups condemn proposal

March 11, 2009

Illinois-based equine rescue organisations have voiced their opposition to a proposed law change that would repeal the state's ban on horse slaughter enacted in 2007.

The Illinois Equine Humane Centre in Wilmington; C.A.N.T.E.R. in northern Illinois, Field of Dreams Horse Rescue & Adoption at St Charles, Hooved Animal Humane Society at Woodstock, Mid America Horse Rescue at Millstadt, and the Society for Hooved Animals Rescue and Emergency in Champaign, issued a joint statement, saying they were united in opposition to the proposed law change "or any other attempt to re-establish horse slaughter in Illinois".

"It is very disturbing that those seeking to profit from the sale of horsemeat are once again trying to bring this cruel industry back to our state, and even more disturbing is the proposed 'blood-money' amendment that has been offered to this bill," said Gail Vacca, president of the Illinois Equine Humane Centre.

The amendment calls for a fee of $25 to be charged to the slaughterhouse for each horse slaughtered, the results of which would then be placed into a fund for eventual distribution to equine rescues for use in expanding their operations or for use in providing care to rescued horses.

"I speak for all of us in stating that none of our equine rescue organisations would ever accept a single penny from this fund," said veterinarian and executive director of the Hooved Animal Humane Society, Dr Patti Klein-Manke.

"This is blood money, pure and simple. We wish to let our legislators know that no legitimate organisation dedicated to equine welfare would ever accept money to save horses that was derived from the pain and suffering of other less fortunate horses."

Margo Sutter, president of the Mid America Horse Rescue in Millstadt added: "If Illinois legislators are truly interested in equine welfare, we could think of a million ways they could help Illinois horses, none of which that would involve their suffering and slaughter. The proposed repeal of the horse slaughter ban and the blood-money amendment are as distasteful as they are disingenuous."

The groups' joint statement was sent to the Illinois General Assembly.