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   SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A judge has ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to hold off on issuing a wastewater permit for a horse slaughter facility planned for northwest Missouri.

   The Springfield News-Leader reports Rains Natural Meats wants to operate the facility near Gallatin, but Cole County Judge Daniel Green wants to hear a lawsuit filed against DNR before allowing the critical permit.

   Three horse slaughter opponents have sued the DNR to block the permit, which would let the facility land-apply the wastewater from the proposed plant.

   Their lawsuit argues that horses treated with a gamut of drugs that could be dangerous to human health would be slaughtered at the facility.

   Rains Natural Meats vice president David Rains called the judge's order illegal and said he was fighting to have it overturned.

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