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Public outcry at "horse waste" from slaughter plant

March 21, 2007

The controversy brewing over the discharge over contaminated horse waste into the Kishwaukee River has led to calls for the DeKalb Sanitary District to revoke the Special User Permit held by the plant's operators.

The Sanitary Group of DeKalb says that for years, the slaughtering of horses has continued at Cavel International, Inc, despite the fact that no efforts have been made to ensure that the waste of these animals does not contain harmful toxins to both human and aquatic life.

"No testing of these substances is performed by either the DeKalb Sanitary District, nor the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Test methods for other substances by the Sanitary District are not relative to the substances inherent to the nearly 40,000 animals that were processed at the slaughter plant in the last year alone.

"The Sanitary District has ignored this matter due to the fact that no standards have been set regarding testing for the substances released by the slaughter plant," the group says.

It says that of special concern to citizens is the microscopic pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum, a widespread pathogen which can cause large epidemics without warning when a water supply becomes contaminated. The best known outbreak occurred in 1993 in Milwaukee, where almost 400,000 people became ill and more than 100 died. This pathogen exists in the manure of infected animals, including horses. A research study determined that one in every 300 horses carry C. parvum. That can be translated as: two to three horses slaughtered per day at Cavel International, Inc. are carrying this pathogen.

"Due to the dangerous nature of this situation and the cumulative effects that exposure to these toxins may be causing human life, aquatic life and wildlife, the Citizens of DeKalb are insisting that the District respond accordingly to the blatant actions and misrepresentations by Cavel International, Inc.

"With the knowledge of the substances at issue, the fact that the slaughterhouse did not disclose the presence or amounts of such substances inherent to the product which it processes, the fact that Cavel slaughters more than double the amount of animals that was allowed for in its permit, and the fact that the plant has been in steady violation of its discharge amounts for nearly three years (with mounting violations and fines), the Sanitary District has more than enough reasons to revoke the permit for any ONE of these issues. The citizens have demanded that the District must side with safety, instead of the unknown, and relieve the slaughter plant of its ability to cause more harm than good to the community."

Members of the public can raise their concerns at a meeting of the DeKalb Sanitary District.



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