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National humane society asking sanitary district for records on Cavel

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007 12:00 a.m. CDT

DeKALB - The Humane Society of the United States has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the DeKalb Sanitary District for documents pertaining to the Cavel International horse-slaughtering plant. After seeing past articles printed in the Chronicle and being notified by local activists about the plant's wastewater discharges, the humane society decided to look into materials on Cavel. &#8220This a routine action,” said Rebecca Judd, staff attorney for the HSUS. &#8220We make dozens of such requests every year. The excess animal products in the wastewater at Cavel flagged our attention.” The plant has been fined repeatedly by the sanitary district since 2004 for exceeding limits on the content of animal products in wastewater that drains into the Kishwaukee River. It has been given until May 31 to be operating within discharge limits established by the sanitary district without further sanctions. The HSUS will examine documents that monitor enforcement measures, complaints by residents and information related to the new water pre-treating system at the Cavel plant. The organization has not yet received any documents. In past circumstances, the HSUS has taken legal action against companies in situations in which documents revealed violations of environmental and animal treatment laws. &#8220It's no secret that we are campaigning against horse slaughter,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of litigation with the HSUS. &#8220With the Texas plants shut down temporarily, we will now look at Cavel.” In late January, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that two horse-slaughtering plants near Fort Worth and Dallas were violating a 1949 state law declaring horse slaughter for human consumption illegal. Beltex and Dallas Crown, the two companies that own the plants, have appealed the decision. Legal proceedings will resume in March to decide whether the plants can continue to operate. At this time they are shut down. If Beltex and Dallas Crown are permanently closed, Cavel will be the last remaining horse-slaughter facility in the country. State legislation in Illinois prohibiting horse slaughter is pending, as is a federal bill against horse slaughter. Benji Feldheim can be contacted at bfeldheim@daily-chronicle.com.

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