Horse Slaughter/Animal Cruelty

National Humane Society opposes auction


Jonesboro Police Chief John Garner scratches the nose of one of 19 horses that will be auctioned off today at 1p.m. at Anna Community Park. The horses were confiscated in December from a Dongola farm. Garner and his son Justin have housed, fed and attended to the horses since then. "I hope they all get good homes," the chief said.


ANNA - Today's auction of horses rescued last year from a Union County farm is drawing fire nationally from humane society representatives.

The Humane Society of the United States has asked the county government to cancel the auction of the 19 horses, fearing some of the buyers will sell the animals to slaughterhouses. Meanwhile, HSUS has reportedly pledged $3,000 to animal welfare group "Pets Are Worth Saving," Inc. in Anna to help with the purchase and turnover of as many horses as possible to the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock.

The HSUS also has sent a letter to both State's Attorney Allen James and county board Chairman Bill Jackson alleging the auction is a violation of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act, 510 ILCS 70/16(i), which says animals in the care of officials should either be adopted or humanely euthanized, not sold.

James has countered HSUS's argument with word he's gotten the OK from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' legal counsel to go ahead with the auction, after the organization initially threatened to have the attorney general prosecute the county due to a miscommunication.

James also said bidders at the auction will be buying the rights to an adoption contract for each horse they purchase. The contracts have been written, he said, to prohibit buyers from selling the animals for slaughter. ASPCA understands the terms on which the county is working, James said, but HSUS is another matter.

"It's their assumption that every horse sold at auction goes to slaughter, and no matter what I told them I couldn't get them off of that," he said.

HSUS has specifically pinpointed Cavel International, a Belgian-owned slaughterhouse located in DeKalb, as being a potential destination for some of the 19 horses.

James Tucker, general manager of Cavel International, said the company doesn't send buyers to specific auctions; instead, he said they often accept unsolicited sellers to their plant.

Tucker said some of the buyers at Union County's auction may be there with the intention of selling their purchases for slaughter, but they would be bidders at the event just like everybody else.

County Commissioner John Garner, who has been caring for the horses at his son's farm in Anna, said with all the publicity the auction has been getting, he doesn't think there will be a shortage of people wanting to give each of the horses a good home.

Garner will be helping auctioneers determine the starting bid of each horse once the auction gets under way. He said he hopes all of them find good owners and for the horses that can't get bidders, Garner will buy each one at the lowest bid and put them among the 13 horses he already owns.

"I'm going to make sure they all get a good home," Garner said.

The auction begins at 1 p.m. in Anna City Park

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