05/15/2007 11:00PM

llinois close to banning horse slaughterhouses


The Illinois Senate late on Wednesday approved a bill that would make it illegal for a horse to be slaughtered for the purposes of human consumption.

The bill, which had previously passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 74-41, was passed in the Senate, 39-16. It will now be sent to Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his signature.

Supporters of the bill said they believe it will shut down the last remaining horse slaughterhouse in the United States, which is located in DeKalb, Ill. The slaughterhouse was shut down last month because of a recent federal court ruling, but it recently reopened after a court of appeals ruled it could remain in operation while its appeal is pending.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that approximately 108,000 horses were slaughtered last year in the United States. Much of the horsemeat is shipped overseas for human consumption in Europe and the Pacific Rim.

The only other two horse slaughterhouses in the country, both in Texas, closed earlier this year after a court of appeals rejected their appeals of a ruling that claimed the slaughterhouses were operating in violation of a state law.