Cavel International is Back in the Horse Slaughter Business


A federal appeals court has ruled that the nation’s last horse-slaughtering plant, Cavel International in DeKalb, Ill., can reopen while it challenges a state law that forced it to close twice in the last two months.

The plant slaughters horses and sells the meat overseas for human consumption.

In late May, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law a measure banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption, or the import, export or possession of horse meat designated for human consumption.

The Illinois law forced the plant to close in May, but federal judge Frederick J. Kapala later ruled that Cavel could reopen for 10 days while it challenged the state ban. The judge refused to extend the stay beyond the 10-day period, so the plant was forced to close its doors again.

Kapala later ruled that Cavel’s challenges to the state ban on slaughter were without merit. The company appealed Kapala’s ruling and on July 18, a U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago granted Cavel’s request for an injunction prohibiting officials from enforcing the state law. In the brief ruling, the court said “irreparable harm” would come to Cavel if not allowed to resume operations while the appeal is pending.

The Cavel plant has operated in DeKalb for about 20 years and before the recent closures, slaughtered about 1,000 horses a week, according to plant officials.

Earlier this year, two Texas-based slaughter facilities that processed horses were forced to close. Both plants exhausted all appeals to reopen.


  1. no, No, NO!!!!! I can’t beleive this. I mean, not to sound pessimistic, great job to everyone who’s support brought down the two other slaughterhouses. But i just can’t beleive there are people fighting that hard to keep a place like that open!

  2. I personaly wouldn’t eat horse, nor would I sell a horse to slaughter. However, I would muuuch rather see horses be slaughtered here rather than make a much longer trip to a unregulated house in Mexico where it is inhumane there. I don’t think the method that the U.S. uses to kill them is inhumane. I don’t see how its any different than shooting them, which I have had done with one of my horses before. Its much quicker and less stressfull for the horse. I think the general public is grossly misinformed about slaughter. Many people don’t have a problem with cow, pig, or chicken slaughter, seeing that the majority of people aren’t vegitarians. I guess people have a problem with horses being killed to eat because they are ‘pets’. Also, I think Americans are egotistical and think that other cultures are wrong because they are different and chose to eat different things. Americans think its silly that some cultures won’t eat cows. In addition to all of this, what is going to happen to all the unwanted horses? I live in an area that has many rescues, and they are all full! I have heard of horses being left at new holland after the sale is over because no one wants them. who will feed and care for the unwanted horses?

  3. I don’t think that they should let them open back up no matter what the appeal is. Horses has the right to have a life just like any other animal. I say keep the slaughter house closed for good and let them have a life. All they want is to be loved and trusted they trusted us and all we are doing is saying “trust us and we will send you away.” they should beable to love and trust without being sent away for something that they haven’t even done to us. These animals are not hurting no one and they say that they are I would like to know how because horses are a part of our american history. America wouldn’t be the same with out them so please everyone fight and keep the slaughter house closed!! ” SAVE THE HORSES!!”

  4. I think that they should stop the sloughter for
    once and for all. They should put the horses to
    sleep peasfuly with a shot. But only if they are
    in pane or very sik and cant be helped.

  5. I grew up all of my life loving horses. I do think there should be horse slaughtering to regulate the number of horses and to set a market price on these animals. If we do not slaughter these animals, there will be a major increase in human neglect on these animals.

  6. What is the sense in slaughtering innoccent horses? The only animals that we should be allowed to eat should are hogs and cattle. We actually get something from them instead of takeing an innoccent horse! SAVE THE HORSE!

  7. People don’t understand that horses are expensive to take care of and when you can’t sell them to the slaughter house you are forced to feed them which is a constant waste of money. And the only way you can get rid a horse is by giving him away. So you lose everything. When you could at least get something back from the slaughter house


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