US Supreme Court Upholds Illinois Law Banning Horse Slaughter

The Associated Press has just released a story stating that the US Supreme Court in Washington DC has denied the appeal launched by Cavel International against the Illinois state horse slaughter ban that closed the DeKalb, Illinois slaughterhouse.

The judge did not comment on the ruling, and I have not yet learned which of the Supreme Court Justices heard the case.

A previous Federal Appeals Court hearing by Cavel also upheld the state’s law.

If you know how to use the .gov research system or have access to an advanced database like Lexis Nexis, do a search for “Cavel International, Inc., v. Madigan, 07-962” and more details should be found.

“Madigan” is the case file name refers to Lisa Madigan, attorney general for the state of Illinois.

Legal-eagles may be interested in the ruling of the Federal Appeals Court in 2007, which can be downloaded at this link.

Cavel was the last horsemeat-for-human-consumption slaughter plant operating in the USA. Two plants in Texas had previously closed. Most of the horsemeat was exported to Japan or Europe.

While the judgements halted the shipment of horsemeat out of the United States, it did not necessarily halt the slaughter of horses, so the laws have become “be careful what you wish for” scenarios, since they specifically stop the slaughter of horses for meat but do nothing to improve the lot of horses at the bottom end of the sales ladder, who are still being sold at auction to killer buyers, and shipped long distances to Canada or Mexico. Many valiant horse rescue projects and groups have been attending auctions and “rescuing” otherwise bound-for-slaughter horses.

The onus is now on the US horse industry and “horse-anthropist” horse lovers to 1) re-integrate the majority of those horses back into productive lives in homes where they will be cared for; 2) humanely euthanize those that are in need of a kind end; and 3) support the rescue efforts and rehab facilities that are bringing these horses out of the auction pens.

Oh, yes, and 4) to build even more facilities to hold and care for and rehab many, many, many more horses yet to come.

I would also add that 5) someone needs to fund a public education campaign to assist veterinarians in communicating with horse owners about the consequences of future sale or the end of usefulness for their horses. Owners need to ascertain what choices are available and what the monetary and emotional prices of those choices are, well before the time comes to make those choices.




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