It's not just for cats and dogs anymore.
Unified Equine is a Wyoming-based company that wants to open its first horse-meat processing plant -- for human consumption, mind you -- just outside Mountain Grove, Missouri, an Ozark community about 70 miles east of Springfield. Unified Equine and its chief operating officer Sue Wallis (also a Wyoming state senator) chose the Mountain Grove site after a two-year search for a location that would back the company's business model. According to Wallis, "the folks in Missouri are 100 percent behind with what we're trying to do and how we're trying to do it."
I know horse meat is popular in France, but I had no idea it was legal in America. Senator Wallis actually worked quite closely with the USDA to shepherd the legislative change through the system two years ago. And while the idea of eating a horse seems distasteful, one look at the USDA's daily reports on the National Carlot Meat Report
reveals that all sorts of unappetizing meats are already processed and sold every day in Missouri -- things such as weasands, scalded and scraped uteri, and lips. Most of these items are categorized under the "byproducts" rubric, meaning they're not for human consumption.
The point is, meat processing of any sort is a bloody and graphic procedure, and after 20 minutes in the plant no horse is going to look like a horse. I don't know if I'd turn my nose up at horse meat on a plate -- "what beer goes with horse?" would probably be a factor in that decision -- but I wouldn't begrudge anyone who wants to eat it. I personally find tripe on its own disgusting, but it doesn't bother me if someone wants to eat that.
Throw in the fact that the Mountain Grove plant is projected to create 40 to 55 jobs and it seems like a boon for the region.