A company called United Equine wants to build a horse-processing plant near Mountain Grove, Mo. Unified Equine has been working on its business model for two years, reports KY3 News. When federal legislation in November brought back the ability for the USDA to inspect horse slaughter plants, the Wyoming company got serious about finding its flagship location. The project currently is in a feasibility study,

"We wanted a state that was supportive of our efforts, and the folks in Missouri are 100 percent on board with what we're trying to do and how we're trying to do it," said Sue Wallis, chief executive officer of Unified Equine, as well as a Wyoming state legislator. She added that she hopes to have it open this year.

The facility, if built, would process about 200 horses per day in one shift or 400 per day in two. It initially would add 40 to50 jobs in the area, with a possible expansion to more than 100. The meat would be distributed to domestic, ethnic, specialty and gourmet markets domestically and internationally.

While some residents are extremely opposed to the idea, others welcome the facility. Nathan Kelly, owner of Wright County Livestock Auction, said that horses being sold at the monthly auction may have an increased value, and fewer horses would end up being neglected and malnourished.

"If you have an owner who can't give an animal away, can't afford to feed it, if they're working for $10 or $12 an hour, they can barely afford to feed their own family, much less their horse, so they're going to take care of their family first," Kelly said.

Source: KY3 News