A step toward resuming horse slaughter in the U.S.

Dec 1, 2011

Horses could once again be slaughtered for meat in the U-S. Congress has lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections.

The ban had helped shut down the nation’s last horse slaughtering plant, Cavel International in DeKalb.  Since then, Illinois lawmakers have made killing horses for human consumption illegal. But State Representative Jim Sacia of Pecatonica says he’ll introduce legislation in January to make it legal again.  He says that’s “so we can have the humane termination of horses that are no longer needed or wanted as opposed to stuffing them in trailers for 40 hours and shipping them to Mexico where who knows how they are going to die.”

Gail Vacca says she will fight any plans to restart horse slaughtering. She is the founder of the Illinois Equine Humane Center in Big Rock, about 20 miles southeast of DeKalb. Vacca says the slumping economy and a perception that horses were no longer being slaughtered ANYWHERE have weeded out people who shouldn’t be breeding horses anyway. She says “with horse slaughter, it offers irresponsible breeders and irresponsible owners an irresponsible avenue to dump their horses.”

Congress quietly restored funding for horse meat inspections after a federal report showed a growing number of neglected and abandoned horses. Vacca disputes that report: she says if Congress really wants to help horses, it should work harder to create jobs for their owners.  The leader of one pro-horse slaughter group says a new facility could open somewhere in the U-S within three months.