Rains Natural Meats, the Missouri company seeking to open a horse slaughterhouse in Gallatin, Mo., is a “small ‘family operation’ that will run a humane plant with tight testing standard,” says Vice President David Rains.
Rains is predicting a big domestic and foreign market for his company’s horse-meat products and says he has already had considerable interest for both human and animal consumption, according to the Springfield News Leader.
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials indicate that Rains Natural Meats is on the verge of securing a permit from the Food Safety Inspection Service to open the horse slaughter facility, following closely behind two other operation that have been issued permits recently — one in New Mexico and another in Iowa.
“There’s going to be a surprising domestic market, and there is an export market,” Rains said. “There’s some interest on the zoo side, too.”
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Rains said he and his brother, Steve Rains, who is the president of the company, are working closely with USDA food-safety officials and have brought in an equine consultant to modify all the equipment in their Gallatin plant.
They plan to “humanely” kill horses, relying on a .410 shotgun with a slug, rather than the controversial captive-bolt gun.
Horses are “an extremely high quality protein source that’s been used in other countries for a long, long time,” Rains said. “It’s a waste not to use it.”
Rains conceded that there are “health issues and ground water contamination issues” involved in horse slaughter.
LAWSUIT FILED IN FEDERAL COURT FOR EMERGENCY INJUNCTION
The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue of Larkspur, Colo., three other groups and five individuals filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, July 1, seeking an emergency injunction to overturn the USDA’s recent permit approval for the Valley Meat Co. plant in Roswell, N.M. Four of the named plaintiffs are Roswell residents; the fifth lives in Gallatin, Mo., according to the News Leader, and the prospective Rains plant is named in the action.
The 36-page petition to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco filed by HSUS and others alleges the USDA did not prepare required environmental reviews for Valley Meat Co.’s horse meat plant in southeastern New Mexico or for any of the pending requests. It lawsuit cites negative environmental consequences caused by horse slaughter, including air and water pollution.
On Tuesday, the USDA approved a horse slaughterhouse in Sigourney, Iowa, and expects to endorse the Missouri request later this week.
At the same time, it renewed its appeal to Congress to ban the business, Reuters reports: "The Administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter," the USDA said in a statement. "Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law."