Attempt to Overturn Illinois Horse Slaughter Ban Stalled in House

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute commends the Illinois General Assembly's House of Representatives for reaffirming their commitment to equine welfare by opposing an attempt to overturn the state's 2007 ban on horse slaughter on the House floor today.

On April 1, just after the day’s business began, state Representative Jim Sacia called for a vote on his bill to overturn the horse slaughter ban, which closed the last remaining slaughterhouse in 2007. However, when he realized he did not have the necessary 60 votes for passage, he employed a technical procedure called “tabling,” which removes the bill from consideration before failure. He did this so he could have more time to try and gain additional votes. He had until the end of the day today to try and have the bill considered before the House, which proved unsuccessful. However, the General Assembly remains in session until May 31, so we must remain vigilant to ensure this legislation does not come up again.

"It is a real shame to see Rep. Sacia waste so much of his colleagues' time on an issue advocating horse abuse, with so many pressing issues to consider before the end of the session. The original ban was strongly supported by the residents of Illinois and the majority of Americans. Overturning it would reestablish a cruel industry and only benefit a foreign owned horse slaughterhouse," said Chris Heyde, AWI's deputy director of Government and Legal Affairs.

During the floor debate, advocates of horse slaughter told tall tales of horses being dumped all over the state and one even said without slaughter, residents would soon see cars hitting horses on highways. Sadly, fear and emotional spin are all horse slaughter advocates have on their side when debating this issue.  None of the claims about increased abuse and abandonment have been proven true in Illinois or elsewhere. Certainly, subsisting one form of abuse - slaughter - for another - abandonment - is no excuse. The truth that horse slaughter is cruel and perpetuates irresponsibility is irrefutable, which is why support for ending horse slaughter remains high. The majority of legislators in Illinois realize this is a bad bill and we are sure this sentiment will continue to hold.

"Maintaining the state ban in Illinois is crucial because it closed the last operating horse slaughter facility in the US," noted Heyde. "This, along with the immediate passage of the federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727) will ensure an end to one form of preventable cruelty."