The last U.S. slaughterhouse to remain closed


A federal judge has dismissed Dekalb, Ill.-based Cavel International’s challenge to a new Illinois law that bans equine slaughter. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the law in May banning the import, export, possession and slaughter of horses intended for human consumption.

Cavel, which processes horses for human consumption overseas, was ordered to shut down last week while the judge considered the company’s challenge to the Illinois law. But on Thursday the judge threw out the case, saying that Cavel’s claims that the law is unconstitutional were without merit. Now Cavel will remain permanently closed unless it can win an appeal to this latest ruling.

Cavel attorney Phil Calabrese said an appeal was likely, but that he first had to talk with his client about the ruling. “We are disappointed in the ruling and respectfully disagree with it,” Calabrese said.
Cavel, which is located about 60 miles west of Chicago, primarily shipped its horsemeat overseas for human consumption. A portion of its meat also was sold to U.S. zoos.

Cavel operated for about 20 years and slaughtered about 1,000 horses a week, according to plant officials.

Two other U.S. plants, both in Texas, closed earlier this year. A federal appeals court upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter for human consumption, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case. The closures mark the end of a decades-long practice of slaughtering horses in the United States for human consumption overseas.

Missed the Story? Catch up with previous news coverage:

Illinois Bans Horse Slaughter for Meat

Last remaining slaughter plant remains open

Illinois Takes Steps to Ban Slaughter

The last U.S. slaughterhouse is ordered to close

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  1. Hallelujah!!God is SO GOOD!!!!These Horses need another chance to live,and with this slaughterhouse(I hate that word)closed,they get a second chance.
    Adopt from an Equine Rescue a lot of the horses there have been rescued from slaughter,abuse and neglect,and they deserved the second chance!!
    Horse Lover

  2. Umm… OK why don’t you go adopt some horses then. Oh that’s right you don’t have any more room for another horse. What makes you think the rest of us do? Well,.. get ready folks for the onset of repercussions this is going to produce. More neglect, shelters and adoption agencies packed and unable to find homes for there horses, having to turn more away. Its happening already I know of several agencies begging for foster help. Plus there is a lot more free horses advertised than ever and horse values are set to start depreciating also. Slaughter isn’t great but is that really what people had a problem with or was it just the way horses where slaughtered? And did they just out law slaughter for humane consumption or does it cover all horse slaughter? Why didn’t we try and figure out a humane way of slaughtering them instead of shutting them down? Because it was easier to just shut them down. And now if the profits are great enough they’ll just move to another state so problem avoided not fixed.


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