Two years ago, fire destroyed the Cavel International plant in the northern Illinois community of DeKalb, but now, the cement-floored holding rooms and massive freezers are nearly ready for the slaughter of up to 100 horses a day for human consumption abroad.
But whether it ever actually reopens depends on the emotionally charged question of whether horses should ever go from paddock to plate.
State Sen. John Cullerton plans to push for a bill as early as Wednesday that would outlaw slaughtering horses in Illinois for human consumption.
Cavel General Manager James Tucker says if a state ban goes through they'll ask for a federal injunction. He says Illinois doesn't have the authority to regulate international commerce.