• New Risk to Slaughter Halt
• How We Can End Slaughter
• Horse Slaughter in the U.S.
• American's Horses Off The Menu
• 2005 Action Alerts
• 2007 Action Alerts
• Press Releases for 2004
• Press Releases for 2007
The grand total of
horses murdered over
the past 24 years to date is 3,850,690!
Another Victory for the Horses!
On Friday September 21, 2007 the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled unanimously to uphold a decision by the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, reaffirming the constitutionality of an Illinois law preventing the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The three judge panel recognized that the will of the people of Illinois and the law should be upheld and struck down the challenge of the slaughter plant, Cavel International, that the law was unconstitutional.
The Illinois state Congress passed a ban on horse slaughter in May of 2007 and when it was signed by the governor it became law immediately. Following that Cavel International, filed suit in federal court to challenge the law's constitutionality. On July 5, the US District Court ruled the law constitutional and enforceable. However, Cavel appealed that decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and were able to argue for an injunction to allow them to continue to slaughter horses while the case was considered.
“The court made the only decision they could under the circumstances. So, while we are happy with the decision it was not unexpected,” said Shelley Sawhook, President of the American Horse Defense Fund (AHDF). “The state of Illinois spoke decisively on the issue and the people of Illinois did not want their state to be the home of the nation’s only horse slaughter plant.”
This does not mean that Cavel has no options and will never again slaughter another horse at their US plant. They can challenge the ruling through appeals by either petitioning for a review by the full panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or it can appeal directly to the Supreme Court of the United States. However, earlier this year the Supreme Court refused to hear a similar request by the two Texas horse slaughter plants operating in violation of Texas law.
“The AHDF and all other major humane agencies call on Cavel to read the handwriting on the wall and to stop delaying the inevitable by continuing to challenge the decisions of the courts,” said Sawhook. “Every day this drag on hundreds of horses are killed needlessly. There are options for owners, as evidenced by our book, Alternatives to Auction and Slaughter, other than slaughter”
Illinois is not the only state who has or is considering legislation to ban horse slaughter. Many other states have enacted or are considering laws to protect horses from slaughter. There is also a movement to pass federal legislation to ban horse slaughter in the United States and the transport of horses abroad for slaughter pending in the US Congress. The bills, HR 503 and S 311, are now more important than ever to make sure that horses who would have been sent to Cavel are not exported for slaughter in Canada or Mexico.
“The people of this country are speaking out and saying clearly that they do not wish for their horses to be treated so inhumanely,” says Sawhook. “They believe it is the right thing to do and so do we at the AHDF. It is the humane thing to do and the AHDF is proud to be a leading supporter of the federal law to ban horse slaughter.”
Illinois plant reopens
7^th Circuit Court Gives Cavel Injunction
July 18, 2007
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 7^th 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
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 H.R. 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
Federal Legislation For Horses
H.R. 249 (wild horses)
H.R. 503 (horse slaughter)
Dear Caring Person:
Your immediate action is needed to help secure a halt to the slaughter
of horses in the United States for human consumption abroad. With the
help of people like you, we persuaded the House to vote overwhelmingly
for a ban on the transport of equine for the purpose of slaughter. While
the bill passed the House by an overwhelming majority, a few Senators
blocked it when it reached the Senate. The Senate companion bill was
never brought to the floor.
This is not the first victory that we have had in this area that was
blocked by opponents. Both the House and Senate passed an amendment to
the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that prohibited your tax
dollars from being used to fund the federally mandated inspection of
horses to be slaughtered for human consumption, thereby halting their
slaughter. The amendment was overwhelmingly approved in both the House
of Representatives and the Senate, and it was made official on Nov. 10,
2005 when the President signed the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
into law. However, the horse slaughter industry refused to give up-and
as a result, the moratorium on horse slaughter was never put into place.
Each year that a ban on horse slaughter goes without being passed the
number of horses slaughtered grows, with 2007 looking to be the
bloodiest since the late 1980's and early 1990's. It is important that
we see an end to horse slaughter before more plants open and the numbers
of horses killed reaches new records.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please contact your Representative and ask that he/she co-sponsor HR 503
and your Senators and ask that they also co-sponsor and support SB 311.
Please also contact President Bush and ask him to use his influence to
ensure the passage of the Horse Slaughter Protection Act.
You can find your Representative’s contact at:
The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Please share our letter and what to do with lists, online boards,
family, riders, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to contact
their Senators, too.
Thank you very much for your help!
American Horse Defense Fund
AMERICA’S WILD HORSES ARE IN DANGER
AND THEY NEED
YOUR IMMEDIATE SUPPORT!
Horses in the United States
The tremendous achievements our nation has been able to claim because of horses can hardly be put into words.
Besides this fact, horses are a native species to our country and it is therefore clear that wild horses are
entitled to a place on our public lands. Recognizing this fact, in 1971 Congress unanimously passed the Wild
Horse and Burro Act which promised wild horses a safe home on public lands and ended the brutal roundups and
killings of mustangs being conducted at the time by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The overwhelming support
from Americans, in particular children, for this legislation was amazing, generating more letters to Congress
than on any other issue, save the Vietnam War.
Threats to Wild Horses
But today, wealthy cattle ranchers who graze their 4 million heads of livestock on public lands, are whittling
away at protections for the remaining 30,000 wild horses in the U.S. by painting them as a mere nuisance and
blaming them for the overgrazing of public lands. In some areas that are supposed to be maintained “primarily”
for wild horses, cattle are given 700% more forage than the horses.
America’s wild horses were dealt a major blow in November 2004 when Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT),
with no hearing or public review, snuck an amendment into a 4,000 page Budget Appropriations Bill
that ended the protections our nation’s wild horses had for 33 years. Under this program, our wild horses were suddenly
considered “excess” animals and were again up for sale “without limitation”. At least 41 horses from one sale alone
under the BLM sales program were sent to slaughter.
It is time for Americans to once again speak up for horses. Please contact your Representative immediately
and ask that they cosponsor the legislation listed below. Our nation’s horses have certainly earned their
place on our public lands. It’s time we expect the 90 billion dollar a year cattle industry to do the same.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP WILD HORSES!
PLEASE GET YOUR CALLS AND LETTERS IN TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND ASK THEM TO
CO-SPONSOR AND SUPPORT HR 249. BE PERSISTENT! PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT ANY RESPONSE YOU RECEIVE AS WELL.
Contact your Representative:
The Honorable (name)
House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Capitol Operator (202) 224-3121
Contact your Senators:|
The Honorable (name)
Washington DC 20510
Capitol Operator (202) 224-3121
PLEASE SHARE THIS ALERT with family friends and co-workers and encourage them to speak up for our nations horses as well.
WRITE BRIEF BUT IMPASSIONED LETTERS TO THE EDITORS of your local newspapers urging your US Representative and Senators to cosponsor this legislation now.
DONATE TO THE AMERICAN HORSE DEFENSE FUND to help with the cost of our outreach efforts in gaining public support for this crucial
legislation. Donations can be made through our website. You may also support our work by ordering the
Merchandise from the AHDF Store.
U.S. Horse Slaughter
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the U.S. currently processes and exports 10,000 tons of horsemeat
a year from 50,000 domestic horses killed at three foreign-owned slaughterhouses in Texas and Illinois. Thousands of additional
American horses are shipped to foreign slaughterhouses. The industry preys on riding horses, former race horses, wild horses, and
foals born to PMU mares, horses that are kept pregnant so their urine can be used to make the hormone replacement drug Premarin®.
The vast majority of the horses sent to slaughter in the U.S. are considered to be in “good” condition according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Guidelines for Handling and Transporting Equines to Slaughter. There is nothing humane about horse
slaughter. Horses are treated brutally prior to and during slaughter and because of their highly developed senses, they suffer
Many alternatives do exist to horse slaughter. In 2004 the American Horse Defense Fund published Alternatives to Auction and
Slaughter: A Guide for Equine Owners, a first of its kind resource promoting the many viable and humane alternatives that exist
to slaughter. The book offers a concise state-by-state listing of alternatives to slaughter and the hundreds of concerned groups
that work to inform horse owners of these options and put them in touch with the help they need. The AHDF is in the process of
updating the book and making it even more accessible by offering it on this website in a downloadable format.
AHDF recently rescued a mustang that was sent to auction and would have been sold to slaughter. A
photo of the mustang named Hope, the new AHDF mascot here.