A Missouri company plans to re-open an existing meat processing facility at Rockville, MO, to humanely process horses. Unified Equine Missouri announced last week it hopes to have the western Missouri plant open by the end of the summer.
The facility will be regulated and inspected by USDA to ensure all horses are humanely transported and processed according to federal regulations. Unified Equine Missouri claims it will adhere to standards that go above and beyond minimum government requirements. Developed by the International Equine Business Association, these standards will include video surveillance to ensure humane handling and a sophisticated, market-driven testing and traceability protocol. These systems ensure, to the extent possible, no stolen horse is mistakenly processed and all horses processed for human consumption are verified free of residues or other contamination.
Unwanted or unusable horses are at a particularly high risk of abandonment and neglect. Since the ban on horse processing was implemented in 2007, many have been transported thousands of miles to other countries where neither the U.S. horse industry nor USDA have jurisdiction over how the animals are handled.
“We believe this is a win-win-win for both horses and people,” said Unified Equine Missouri Chief Executive Officer Sue Wallis. “By ensuring every horse has value, we ensure they are handled appropriately at every stage, that they are used for good purposes that contribute to the overall economy, that owners have the option of selling a horse they no longer want or need for a good price and that as many as 50 good jobs that were lost almost a year ago are restored to a deserving rural community.”
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