Mo. Venue Owner: Locals Only at Horse Processing Meeting

The owner of the Missouri auction facility hosting a meeting about a proposed horse processing plant in Mountain Grove wants the gathering to be strictly a local affair.

On Feb. 24 the Wyoming-based Unified Equine LLC, announced it was conducting a study to determine the feasibility of locating a horse processing plant in the Twin Cities Industrial Park near Mountain Grove. According to plant developers Unified Meats LLC, the proposed Missouri plant would be a state-of-the-art facility primarily focused on processing horsemeat for human consumption, but also capable of processing beef and bison. Resulting products would be sold in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

On March 6 Mountain Grove residents packed a senior citizens center to learn more about the plant project, said Glenn Kemper, treasurer of the Mountain Grove Community Foundation. Some in attendance opposed the project on equine welfare, environmental, and other grounds, he added.

On March 12 Unified Equine Missouri, prospective developers of the processing plant, invited community members and local residents to an informational meeting about the proposed plant and the feasibility study currently under way.

According to the invitation, provided by Unified Equine representative Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis, the meeting was slated to take place today (March 12) between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Ozarks Family YMCA in Mountain Grove. But shortly after the invitation was extended, a scheduling conflict caused the meeting venue to change to the Wright County Livestock Auction Barn also in Mountain Grove.

Nathan Kelly, owner of the Wright County Auction barn said that he wanted the meeting open only to local residents and members of the local news media on grounds that some outside the community, including media outlets outside the local area, have "blown the issue out of proportion."

Kelly also said he has been the target of media misinformation regarding his position about the plant.

Wallis was not available for comment about the recent developments, but in a posting on her Facebook page, she said the meeting represented an opportunity for community members to "learn exactly what is being planned, how it will affect you, and express your concerns."

"Disrespect or a lack of civility towards any individual or entity will not be allowed," the posting continued. "Law enforcement will be present to ensure that the meeting remains safe and comfortable for all in attendance."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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