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Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2007) - In a 51-page opinion issued just
hours ago, United States District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
held that the slaughter of horses in America violates federal law. In
her opinion, issued in response to a lawsuit filed in February 2006 by
the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) and other humane
organizations and individuals, Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the National Environmental
Policy Act by failing to conduct an environmental impact review of its
decision to allow the continuation of horse slaughter.
"Tonight, after years of legislation and litigation, America's three
horse slaughterhouses can no longer kill horses for human consumption,"
states Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Society for
Animal Protective Legislation. "We call on Illinois-based Cavel
International to work with the humane and rescue communities to find
permanent safe homes for the hundreds of horses who were slated for
slaughter, to give them a second chance at life."
The rule that was vacated by the court, was promulgated by the USDA's
Food Safety and Inspection Service to create a fee-for-service
inspection process for horses slaughtered for human consumption. The
rule circumvented a Congressionally approved amendment to the FY 2006
Agricultural Appropriations Act that cut federal funding for the
required inspections. Because of continuing resolutions approved by
Congress to fund the government, today's ruling is effective
There are three horse slaughterhouses in America, one in Illinois and
two in Texas. Though the Texas plants were recently forced to stop
slaughtering horses for human consumption when an appellate court upheld
a Texas law making it illegal to sell, possess and transport horsemeat
for sale for human consumption, the Illinois plant has been killing
approximately 1,000 horses per week.
"The American public has overwhelmingly opposed the slaughter of
America's horses for human consumption and now the courts have declared
horse slaughter to be illegal," adds Heyde. "While horses will no
longer be butchered in the U.S. they can be hauled under appalling
conditions to an even more brutal death in plants across the U.S.
border. Congress must pass federal legislation to extend the
protections to all horses and to send a clear message to those few who
profit from this barbaric trade."
Currently pending in Congress are H.R. 503 and its Senate companion
measure, S. 311, which would ban the slaughter of horses for human
consumption and prohibit the transport of horses outside of the United
States for slaughter.
The Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the Animal Welfare
Institute's legislative arm, is the unsurpassed leader in obtaining laws
to benefit animals in need, including the protection of domestic and
wild horses. More information is available at
For More Information Contact:
Chris Heyde (703) 836-4300