New Mexico Horse Slaughter Plant Stuck in Legal Battles

Lately, it’s quiet enough to hear crickets in Roswell’s Valley Meat plant.

That’s because all of the noise is in the courtroom. The owner of Valley Meat, Rick De Los Santos, hopes his facility will soon be used to slaughter horses for people around the world to eat. His vision has been controversial with animal rights activists and even the New Mexico attorney general.

“The meat is safe. It’s not going to harm anyone,” said De Los Santos.

There are several ongoing state and federal lawsuits that will determine if and when Valley Meat will be open for business. The federal government cut funding for inspects that are required for such facilities. Valley Meat is legally fighting to change that. The funding for inspections may be restored after September, and the company’s attorney said at that time, production will begin.

Other lawsuits are also underway involving the New Mexico attorney general and a foundation started by former governor Bill Richardson and famed actor Robert Redford.

In nine days, Valley Meat will find out if the New Mexico Environment Department approves its plan for getting rid of waste water. They want to pump that waste water into a lined lagoon, where it will evaporate instead of contaminating the environment. If that permit is denied, Valley will have to explore other options for disposing their waste water.