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Horse Meat Plant Closes, to the Dismay of Gordon Ramsay

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on May 18, 2007 8:25PM

Illinois legislators are saying “neigh” to the idea of grubbing down on horse meat; the Senate yesterday approved a measure that would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and Blago is expected to sign it into law, according to an aide.

2007_5_horse.jpgIllinois only has one remaining horse slaughterhouse, a plant owned by Cavel International in DeKalb. A federal judge’s ruling shut the plant down at the end of March due to issues with regulations and inspections, but it reopened two weeks ago.

Sen. Brad Burzynski (R), whose district includes the plant, argued against the ban:

Before, people could actually sell their animals, get some money. Now it's actually going to cost people to get them euthanized and disposed of.

Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago), the sponsor of the bill, argued it differently: "These are companion animals, not livestock," Cullerton said. "Many animal lovers look upon horses like cats and dogs rather than pigs and cows."

Sort of, Sen. Cullerton, sort of. You don’t have to eat it yourself, but it seems a tad jingoistic to say people can’t eat it if they want to. See dog meat here. Chicagoist doesn’t eat it, but to differentiate between companions and livestock gets you in a situation you might not want to be in, making arguments you might not be prepared to make.

Once the governor signs the bill into law, the plant will have to cease production. Most of the horse meat processed at the plant is sent to Europe where people like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver apparently cook it and eat it in droves.

Image via Drabruzzi.