A Missouri-based company is on track to re-open an existing meat processing plant in Rockville, Mo., by summer's end. The Rockville facility is currently being renovated and reequipped in order to humanely process horses. The facility will be regulated and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure all horses are humanely transported and slaughtered under federal humane slaughter regulations, which provide one of the highest standards in the world. USDA will oversee and verify the food safety of all products.
Unified Equine Missouri will adhere to standards that go above and beyond minimum government requirements, standards developed by the International Equine Business Association. These standards include video surveillance to ensure humane handling and a sophisticated, fail-safe market-driven testing and traceability protocol. These systems ensure to the extent possible no stolen horse is mistakenly processed, and that all horses processed for human consumption are verified free of drug residues or other contamination.
Unwanted or unusable horses are at particularly high risk of abandonment and neglect, or being transported thousands of miles to other countries where neither the U.S. horse industry nor USDA has any jurisdiction over how horses are handled. There is a thriving foreign market for horse meat which is widely used in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. A robust niche ethnic market for horse meat existed in the United States prior to 2007 and is eagerly awaiting the reopening of the equine meat industry.