SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - The owner of a Missouri company seeking to open a horse-slaughter facility says he's been working with federal food safety officials to modify equipment at a processing site so the facility can humanely handle horses.
David Rains, of Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, told The Springfield News-Leader he's been working with an equine consultant and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prepare the plant for horse slaughter. He says it's unclear how many horses the plant will handle if it's approved.
Animal protection groups have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the revival of domestic horse slaughter at commercial processing plants. The Humane Society's lawsuit names the Rains facility and other prospective plants in Missouri, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
The USDA didn't immediately return a call Monday seeking comment.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal officials have granted a southeastern New Mexico company's request to open a horse slaughterhouse. Officials also say Friday that they plan to grant similar permits to operations in Iowa and Missouri.
With the action, Valley Meat Co. of Roswell is set to become the first operation in the nation licensed to process horses into meat.
The company has been fighting for approval from the Department of Agriculture for more than a year with a request that ignited debate over whether horses are livestock or companions.
The decision comes months after Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA, accusing it of intentional delays because the Obama Administration opposes horse slaughter.
Valley Meat Co. wants to ship horse meat to countries where people cook with it or feed it to animals.