Cavel Planning Supreme Court Slaughter Ban Appeal

A company that ran what was the country's last remaining horse-slaughtering plant plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Illinois law that forced the facility to close this fall, a lawyer said.

"We are planning to file a petition (for a hearing) ... but we're at the very front end of that process," said J. Philip Calabrese, the Cleveland attorney who represents Cavel International Inc.

The company has until Jan. 18 to file its petition.

Calabrese said he does not expect a decision from the court on whether it will hear the appeal until April or May.

In September, a federal appeals court upheld the state law banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption, forcing the 20-year-old plant to close (for more on this see  

The northern Illinois facility slaughtered between 40,000 and 60,000 horses a year. Except for a portion sold to U.S. zoos, the meat was shipped to be eaten by diners overseas.

Cavel, a subsidiary of a Belgian company, had about 60 workers and bought horses for about $300 apiece.

Critics complained that the slaughterhouse process was inhumane and argued that the nation had no tradition of raising horses for meat, and shouldn't do so to satisfy foreign consumers.

But Cavel lawyers argued that Illinois' specific ban on human consumption of horsemeat serves no purpose, because horses that are old or no longer useful will be killed anyway

Two other U.S. plants, both in Texas, closed earlier this year.

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The Associated Press

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