Monday, August 06, 2007

7th Circuit shuts last horseslaughter plant in U.S.

In a decisive victory for animal advocates, the Seventh Circuit closed the Cavel horseslaughter plant in Illinois permanently when it upheld a recent amendment to the Illinois Illinois Horse Meat Act, 225 ILCS 635 et seq., that resulted in the highly controversial horse slaughter ban. The ban made it unlawful for any person in the state to either slaughter, 635/1.5(a), or import, export, sell, buy, give away, hold or accept “any horse meat if that person knows or should know that the horse meat will be used for human consumption.” 635/1.5(b).

In Cavel International, Inc., v. Madigan, 500 F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2007), the Seventh Circuit found that the ban was not discriminatory against interstate commerce, Id. at 555, only interfered minimally with foreign commerce, Id. at 558, and had a rational basis. Id. at 557. The court dismissed Cavel’s suit with prejudice. Id. at 559. Cavel is apparently appealing this decision.

Notably, the opinion was written by Judge Posner, an outspoken – and even published – critic on the subject of animal rights. See e.g., (debate with Peter Singer) and "Animal Rights: Legal, Philosophical, and Pragmatic Perspectives," in Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions 51, Martha C. Nussbaum and Cass R. Sunstein, eds. (2004). Nonetheless, beyond finding that “[s]tates have a legitimate interest in prolonging the lives of animals that their population happens to like” he mused in dicta that a state “is also permitted to take one step at a time on a road toward the humane treatment of our fellow animals.” Id. at 557.