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Illinois horse slaughter passes hurdle

February 25, 2010

By Ben Yount

A plan to make commercial horse slaughter legal in Illinois again cleared a legislative panel on Tuesday.

Representative Jim Sacia is sponsoring the initiative since the state's 2007 ban on the practice.

"We can document untold numbers of abandoned starving horses. That absolutely is occurring for one reason and one reason only and that is we do not allow humane slaughtering of horses in the United States today," Sacia said.

The Cavel commercial slaughtering plant in DeKalb formerly sold horse meat to foreign markets and was the last such operation in the nation.

Sacia said that horse owners have since found it too expensive to deal with aging or unwanted horses.

But Gail Vacca, with the Illinois Equine Humane Centre, said that's just an excuse.

Vacca said many of the supporters of horse slaughter are looking for an easy solution to a complicated problem.

"With the responsible horse owner, 99 percent of us already humanely euthanize our horses. So it's a very small percentage of horses that have irresponsible owners that are proponents of slaughter because it's an easy out for them."

However, Sacia contends that slaughter should be an option.

"I myself will never send a horse to slaughter because it's not palatable to me. But I can afford to have [a veterinarian] come and euthanize my horse. I can afford to have the rendering truck come and haul it away."

The proposal now moves to the House.



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