ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico company's hard-fought attempts to convert its cattle plant to a horse slaughterhouse was dealt a series of new blows Monday, with the state denying its wastewater permit and actor Robert Redford, former Gov. Bill Richardson and the state attorney general announcing plans to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to block a return to domestic horse slaughter.
The New Mexico Environment Department told Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, which has a lapsed discharge permit, that it won't renew the permit without a public hearing because of extensive comments already received.
Valley Meat Co. attorney Blair Dunn said the lack of permit would not prevent the plant from opening as planned Aug. 5, but it would increase the cost of doing business because the plant would have to haul its waste.
Dunn accused the state of unfairly targeting a small, family-owned business. He noted that many dairies are operating around the state with lapsed permits.
He said the state ignored Valley's request for a renewal until the horse slaughter debate became so divisive and Gov. Susana Martinez announced her strong opposition.