Horse News

Last Shuttered US Horse Slaughter Plant Celebrates Blood Free Anniversary

OpEd by Vicki Tobin ~ Vice President of Equine Welfare Alliance

Cavel Closed Four Years on 9/21/2011

Four years ago yesterday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois shut down Cavel, the hell hole in DeKalb, IL. Here’s a copy of the ruling:

 “So the judgment is affirmed, the suit dismissed with prejudice, and the injunction that we granted pending appeal dissolved.”

We owe thanks to the legal system but also to advocates that were instrumental in passing the law and staying the course through the hearings, lobbying and ultimately through the trials challenging our state law banning horse slaughter.

Three such advocates that stand above the sea of advocates involved are Gail Vacca, Illinois Equine Humane Center, NFP, Ellen-Cathryn Nash, Manes and Tails Organization and John Holland, Equine Welfare Alliance.

Gail has been in the forefront since the first attempt to pass the law. We lost that one but were successful in the second attempt. To say Gail worked her tail off would be an understatement. Gail will be attending our conference and moderating the slaughter strategy session on Monday night with RT and me. For those of you attending, be sure to take a moment to meet her, if you don’t already know her. She can be an excellent resource to those trying to pass similar laws in their home states. She’s seen it all!

Elle has been involved in ending slaughter for a long, long time. She played an important role in the hearings with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals with an Amicus Curiae brief she filed. I can hear references to the brief she filed in the discussion on the audio file I have on my personal website. Elle won’t be attending the conference but she has a wealth of historical information on her website.

John is John. He’s always there for everyone by providing information, statistics and guidance. He worked hard on the sanitary district wastewater violations as well as working the efforts on passing the law and the never ending court challenges. John also rescued one the Cavel miracle horses. The horses were named The Cavel Miracle Horses because they are the only horses to ever exit a slaughter plant, alive. I believe it was the shutdown when the “fees for inspections” was ruled a violation of the meat inspection act. This is what Wallis and Lummis are trying to do now in spite of the court ruling. Thirty horses were inside the plant when ordered to shut down and every horse was adopted, including a foal that was born shortly afterward. Of course, the shutdown only lasted for a day or two until they filed their appeal to the ruling and were granted a TRO to continue operating.

9 replies »

  1. Although it takes a village; I worked over 7 years non stop on CAVEL; some, most have no idea how the America’s Dirty little secret war was started here; but they will once I am published.

    I introduced the water effluent violations and went up against the City Sanitary District; Introduced the contaminated drugs in the meat and the effluent.; which all is well documented in the papers. I was on the ground every single day here or in DC. Which is also well documented.

    I went up against the EPA, USDA among several others chasing CAVEL to get them on the defense; yes I had SOME help but I was closing CAVEL not chasing the media. Going to each court date or District meeting; facing the enemy; my soul and heart are forver changed because of this hell hole and because I placed myself on the front lines.

    Please dont forget those of us who gave more then anyone will ever know; except for those who speak the truth and our higher power.


  2. Definitely a red letter day with a bow to the multitudes of horses that suffered tragic deaths in that hell hole. Thankfully I was never there no anywhere near this place but when I picture it I the same pall falls over me as viewing a battleground or other place of mass tragedy. Never, ever again.


  3. Angela, I too was with Gail Vacca at each and every reading, hearing and was in the Gallery when the final vote was taken. She never ever gave up on shutting that house of horrors down nor did we. Chris Hyde from the Animal Institute did a fantastic and he stills continues to this day. He has also been very effective in Washington with the new bill regarding horse slaughter We also need to thank Representative Robert Molaro who introduced the bill and carried it to its passage. He was indeed a champion for all of our equine friends. The close of Cavel was a concentrated effort by so many Illinoians. We could not have done that without everyone’s help. I persoanlly took two days and called all of the Illinois Legislators. After the final appeal was dead and we knew that it was finally closed, we placed a basket of flowers and said a short prayer for all of the horses that had lost their lives in that house of horrors. I will continue to fight to keep horse slaughter out of our country


  4. WOW, Angela and Gail! Sure glad you came here. Our Wild Horses and Burros NEED you. As we have discovered, this is all connected.


  5. Thank you for giving Gail some well-deserved kudos. I remember her valiant fight and how the pro-slaughter lobby attempted to marginalize her efforts.

    She is a real hero for equines.


  6. It is a continued fight that will most likely never end. For those warriors that have and will give their last effort and penny to defend the defendless, more honor and glory should befall you for making all the difference in the world. I do wish there were more, we need more this year especially. We stand a good chance to pass the legislation with it both being out in the house and in the senate and with so many passed co sponsors. We have many, but we need more relentless, tireless, do whatever it takes advocates. Lets get the deng job finished, all of us together! Looking so forward to meeting and catching up with soo many true Horse Heros at the International Equine Conference!!


  7. there are so many beautiful warriors here, they are all tireless in their efforts to end the suffering of these Beautiful wonderful Horses, together we can do this and will do this…..I am so proud to be here with all of you !!! Each one of us know the pure and innocent beauty that we fight for everyday ,each one of them different , each one of them has a special gift inside….each one a work of art , each one of us in the capacity that we can, relentless in our quest !! There isnt one of us that will ever stop until the Lives of these beautiful horses is again free to live on the range in peace as was intended …..


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