07/20/2007 12:00AM

Ilinois slaughterhouse gets reprieve


An Illinois federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that a DeKalb, Ill., horse slaughterhouse could remain open while it appeals a lower court ruling that slaughtering horses for human consumption is illegal under state law.

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that the state legislature was within its rights to place a ban on horse slaughter, rejecting the DeKalb plant's appeal. The Wednesday ruling from the federal appeals court allows the plant to reopen while its appeal is pending, with the court ruling that a shutdown could cause "irreparable harm" to the company, Cavel International.

The DeKalb plant is the last operating horse slaughterhouse in the United States. Earlier this year, two plants in Texas shut down when the state attorney general ruled that the slaughterhouses were operating in violation of state law.