ROCKVILLE, Mo. – Unified Equine announced the company is on track to open a horse slaughter plant in an existing meat processing plant in Rockville, Mo., by the end of summer.

The plant is currently being renovated and refitted to slaughter horses. The company said the US Department of Agriculture would oversee and verify the safety of produced at the plant, as well as regulate and inspect the facility. The Rockville plant was a USDA-inspected meat processing facility, and has the advantage of having all environmental waste water handling systems already in place with approval by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies, the company said.

"We are excited to be bringing jobs and opportunity to rural Missouri," said Sue Wallis, chief executive officer, "and even happier to provide a humane and viable option to the horse industry, decimated by misguided efforts to end humane horse slaughter."

Unified Equine Missouri said it will adhere to standards developed by the International Equine Business Association, whose standards exceed minimum government requirements, the company said in a news release. The standards include video surveillance to ensure humane handling and "fail-safe market-driven testing and traceability protocol," to ensure stolen horses won't be processed by mistake.

"We believe this is a win-win-win for both horses and people," Wallis said. "By ensuring every horse has value we ensure they are handled appropriately at every stage, that they are used for good purposes that contribute to the overall economy, that owners have the option of selling a horse they no longer want or need for a good price, and that as many as 50 good jobs that were lost almost a year ago are restored to a deserving rural community."