Ruling Expected Soon on Last Remaining Horse Slaughter Plant


In mid August, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about the constitutionality of an Illinois law that bans horse slaughter in the state for human consumption. If it stands, the law would close the last remaining U.S. horse slaughterhouse, Cavel International in DeKalb, Ill.

Owners of Cavel International filed the appeal after U.S. District Judge Frederick Kapala ruled July 5 that the Belgium-based business did not prove the new law was unconstitutional. Although Cavel had been closed for a short period after that ruling, the plant has been allowed to operate while the appeal is being considered.

Cavel attorney J. Philip Calabrese has argued that the ban, which was signed into law May 24, violates foreign commerce laws. Cavel exports horse meat produced at the DeKalb plant to Europe and Japan.

Cavel accounts for less than 1 percent of all horse meat sales abroad, and therefore the plant’s impact on commerce is minimal.
“How can the law burden foreign trade except in a negligible way?” U.S. appellate Judge Ilana Rovner asked.

Rovner asked if the Cavel plant could be converted into a cattle slaughterhouse, as was done with a horse-slaughtering facility in Texas, but Calabrese said the DeKalb operation could not be retrofitted for any use other than processing horses.

If the court allows the Illinois law to stand, Cavel International’s legal strategies for remaining open in that state will be exhausted.


  1. I hope that this ban passes. It would be good knowing that no horses are being slaughtered in the U.S. however it still doesn’t protect horses bought by meat buyers. They can still send them to Mexico to be slaughtered. I don’t understand how anyone can eat a horse or sell their horse to a meat buyer. What a tragic end to a magnificant animal and what a way to say thanks for all of the heart and dedication that the horse puts into their human(s)….

  2. i rly agree with nocole(and evelyn too)
    but nicole makes a very good point.Horses are the most wonderful animal who allows us to ride them,even tho they dont have to.And some people after their old steed has serviced them for many years,send them to slauterhouses.For what? to make a few quick bucks?horses do NOT deserve this.Yes I know that if we close down this one in ill. that they will just go to mexico.but hopefully HOPEFULLY it will decrease the # of horses being slautered.I pray that the law passes and it shuts down.And if it hopefully does,i hope their next challenge is to shut down the one in mexico.I just dont see what kind of mean,horrible,heartless ppl can do such a thing..if you do this horrible thing,you disquist me and i hope one day you somehow find a heart.

  3. horse slaughter needs to be banned all over the world. sure… this maybe coming from a 15 year old, but i don’t support the idea of so many beautiful animals being killed just so they can be eaten by another animal, an animal that they have been loyal to for thousands of years. there is no creature on earth like the horse, and i don’t think that there ever will be. people say that they love there horses… but that love is NOT real. people who REALLY love there horses give there beloved friend the death the deserve. a humane one! if you don’t support slaughter… i thank – you, the horses who are lucky enough to be so loved that they don’t have to EVER go through something like that thank -you. and may those who have lost there life rest in peace and run free among the stars forever, unharmed.


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