Horse slaughterhouse to open in Gallatin, Mo.

GALLATIN, Mo. - For 15 years, the Rains Natural Meats facility has processed beef, pork and even ostrich. But for the first time ever, horses will be slaughtered at the 7,000 square-foot facility.

"We're a small family deal that's just trying to make a living and create jobs and make things better," David Rains, the owner of Rains Natural Meats said.

As of Monday, his plant doesn't have any activity because of an ongoing legal fight over what he's trying to process in it-- horse meat.

"You've got extremely high quality protein--meat protein--that the world is starving for that can help feed hungry people out of these animals that are going to be destroyed anyway what's wrong with that?" Rains said.

Late Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals lifted a temporary ban on food safety inspection at horse slaughterhouses.
Once USDA inspectors arrive to Rains' plant, horses from his farm or ones that are bought will be led through pens. Each horse must be able to walk on all fours and cannot be blind.

Groups like the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation find the methods of corralling the horses to be inhumane.

"Horses are skittish, they have a flight response, they're much more difficult to hit with the gun, there's just a whole host of abuses associated with it," Bob Baker, the executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation said.

Once the horse is led to the so-called "knockbox," it will be shot and killed. It is then brought to a nearby room where it will be skinned, have its blood drawn for tests and then inspected by USDA.

After the hour-long process the horse will end up in one of three carcass rooms until it is ready to be processed.
Rains expects that 30 horses will be slaughtered in a week.

"We'll never be as efficient as Tyson or somebody that that's doing beef and pork we've got to do something different that they're not willing to do," he said.

Currently, there is a high demand for horse meat in place like France, China and Russia.

"People are 100 percent for it or 100 percent against and there's probably not much luck in changing anybody's mind on either side," Rains said.

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