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Slaughterhouse for horse meat proposed in Riverton area

May 23, 2012 - Staff and wire reports

A plan to open a horse slaughterhouse, similar to projects which have sparked controversy in other states, has been proposed for Riverton.

State Rep. Sue Wallis of Campbell County heads the company, United Equine, which hopes to open the slaughterhouse within a year, with the meat processed for human consumption both in the U.S. and abroad.

The company earlier announced plans to build horse slaughter plants in Oklahoma and Missouri. Local opposition has been registered in both states.

The company's chief executive, state Rep. Sue Wallis of Campbell County, said work on the Riverton facility wouldn't begin until those plants are up and running.

Last year, Congress lifted a five-year ban on funding for horse meat inspection, opening the door to new slaughterhouses. The last licensed U.S. site that butchered horses commercially for meat closed five years ago, although there are other facilities that slaughter horses for other purposes.

Wallis said United Equine would seek investors for the Riverton plant. Plant capacity would be 200 horses a day for sale abroad, primarily to so-called "ethnic markets" but also for sale in the U.S.

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