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.
A Missouri company expects to get the go ahead to slaughter horses after an Iowa company garnered federal approval yesterday. USDA officials say Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Missouri could get permission later this week.
The facility 75 miles north of Kansas City has the current capacity to slaughter 30 horses a week.
In 2005, the U.S. Congress effectively ban horse slaughter when it eliminated funding for USDA inspections. The funding prohibition expired in 2011, effectively lifting the ban.