As we know, horse slaughter is a very emotional topic. Ever since it became illegal to operate such a slaughter house in Illinois two years ago, there has been a horse population boom. And now, Representative Jim Sacia wants a bill passed that allows horse slaughterhouses, such as Cavel International in Dekalb, to resume production.
Sacia says plants like Cavel end an animals' life humanely and can be done so with government oversight. Ever since Cavel shut down production, some breeders are abandoning their horses, while others seek out expensive euthanasia. Thousands of horses are now being exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter in conditions Sacia says are unacceptable. Supporters of the ban say they still do not want to see their pets on dining room tables in other countries.
"Nobody wants horse slaughter. My horses will never go to slaughter. [But] we need it as a viable option," says Jim Sacia.
"Horses here are treated as pets. I think if there are enough people out there that dont want this, they should let their congressman know," says Jan Stewart.
Right now, Sacia says he's working with fellow representatives and horse rescue groups to finalize the bill, and he hopes to see it on the House floor by April. His opponants say they remain optimistic that it will not pass.
There is also a federal bill being discussed that would ban horse slaughter across the US, as well as prevent transporting horses to other countries for slaughter. There is no timetable for that bill, but it would trump any state laws.