Equine Slaughter Plant Continues Legal Battle

Cavel International went to the Supreme Court to the forced closure

The Associated Press has reported that a lawyer for the horse slaughter facility, Cavel International, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Illinois law that forced the plant’s closure in September.

Cavel International, based in DeKalb, Ill., was the last remaining equine slaughter facility in America. Two other U.S. plants, both in Texas, closed earlier this year.

Cavel’s legal fight has been long running. On Sept. 21, the plant tried to persuade a federal appellate court to overturn an Illinois law that prohibits the killing of horses for human consumption. That law was passed in May 2007, but Cavel claimed it violated international commerce rules.

Cavel lost its argument.

“Even if no horses live longer as a result of the new law, a state is permitted, within reason, to express disgust at what people do with the dead, whether dead human beings or dead animals,” Judge Richard Posner wrote for the federal appellate court Sept. 21.

Cavel killed as many as 60,000 horses each year. At one time, about 1,000 horses a week were being killed and processed at the DeKalb plant. The horsemeat was then exported to other countries.

Cavel has operated for 20 years, generated $20 million in annual revenue and employed about 60 people, according to court documents.

According to Cavel’s attorney, the plant has until Jan. 18, 2008 to file its latest petition.


  1. i think it’s wonderful what people are doing to protect horses. i love them. The only thing is that there is still much more to be done on this issue! Slaughter houses in Mexico STAB the horses do death, then they hang them with chains that connect to their hoof area. Most of them die during the 2nd process in which case hanging from the ceiling, their throats are cut. i do not agree with the killing of horses, but at least the slaughter houses in America kill them humanely and painlessly. i hate to see animals suffer like that.


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