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Proposed bill would end horse slaughter

Published: Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007 12:00 a.m. CDT

State Rep. Bob Molaro, D-Chicago, introduced a bill on Thursday to end horse slaughter in Illinois. The bill prohibits transportation of horses into the state for the sole purpose of slaughter for human consumption. According to state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, this is the third bill of this nature proposed by Molaro. The past two bills were defeated. &#8220There are totally inappropriate reasons for this legislation,” said Jim Tucker, manager of the Cavel plant. &#8220Arguments for it say stolen horses are brought to the plant, and the horses are treated inhumanely. We have inspectors who check horses when they arrive and examine the carriers they rode in on to make sure they are not being hurt. We've never had a stolen horse brought to us.” Pritchard said he has not seen Molaro's bill, but has opposed similar bills before. &#8220If we live in a free society, we shouldn't diminish freedom of choice and opportunity,” said Pritchard, in regard to the new bill. &#8220The issue needs to be more clearly identified beyond people's tastes and preferences. We can't make laws based on preferences.” State Sen. Brad Burzynski, R-Clare, also has not examined the new bill, but was against it in the past. &#8220I've been supportive of Cavel to maintain status as a viable business in this community,” said Burzynski. &#8220If the plant was shut down, it would be a great loss of jobs and revenue for this area and for the state. It's possible the bill could be seen as unconstitutional if it violates interstate commerce laws. This is an attempt by Molaro to simply appease people against slaughter.” If passed, the new law would force Cavel to shut down. The bill is supported by Gov. Rod Blagojevitch and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Federal bills that would prohibit horse slaughter for human consumption are pending. Benji Feldheim can be read at bfeldheim@daily-chronicle.com.

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