An Illinois State Legislature bill could signal the end to horse slaughter in the U.S. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Bob Molaro (D-Chicago), would prohibit movement of horses into Illinois for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption.

Illinois is the only state where continued horse slaughter isn't threatened following a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in mid-January that ruled as valid a 1949 Texas law banning horse slaughter for human consumption. That ruling concerned two of the nation's three horse slaughter plants — Dallas Crown Inc. at Kaufman, TX, and Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth. Spokesmen for the Texas plants say options are being weighed, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A third plant, unaffected by that ruling, is Cavel International, Inc., in DeKalb, IL. The three plants, which USDA says harvested 100,000 horses last year, produce horsemeat for the European Union and other countries.