Cavel International has been closed since district Court Judge Kapala ruled that Illinois could enforce its new law banning horse slaughter in June 2007. However, in a surprise action today by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the plant was given yet another injunction allowing the plant to reopen and continue the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The decision states “In light of the irreparable harm that will come to the plaintiffs if the motion is not granted, and a degree of novelty raised by the appeal, the motion is GRANTED”.
The members and staff of the AHDF are disappointed in this decision. “The novelty is that the Court of Appeals would ignore the will of the people,” says Shelley Sawhook, president of the American Horse Defense Fund. “The plant has been given a number of injunctions and opportunities to allow them to plead their case. They will be opening once again tomorrow under 2 separate injunction,” says Sawhook “While the appeal was not unexpected, the awarding of the injunction was very unexpected”.
Cavel International slaughters horses for human consumption overseas. The Illinois state legislature passed a law banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption in May of 2007, but the plant appealed the law as being unconstitutional. Federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars from being used to inspect the meat and Cavel would be operating under the injunction issued to force the federal government to pay for the inspections, not the fee-for-service plan the USDA implemented after the federal ban on funding was passed.
“Issues like these show why it is important for federal legislation to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption is so very important,” says Sawhook. However, the bills to protect horses from slaughter are stalled in the Senate (S 311) and House (HR 503). Last session HR 503 passed the House by an overwhelming majority, but went unheard in the Senate because of blocks by a few Senators. This session the same Senators have again, let it be known that they do not wish the bill to get floor time and even though it passed through committee it has not been scheduled for a vote. “It is time that our government not have legislation held up because one or two people oppose a bill,” Sawhook said “All bills deserve an up or down vote and these bills have been left pending for too long. Let’s have a vote on them, so we can all move forward”.