ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s official. The controversial horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico will not be opening.
“I think it’s just time to stop and see what will happen now,” said Valley Meat Owner Rick De Los Santos.
For almost four years, De Los Santos has been trying to slaughter horses for food.
He’s faced court battles from animal rights groups and the Attorney General along with federal push back.
Earlier this year the President signed a bill to stop funding horse slaughterhouse inspections until 2016.
Friday, De Le Santos told KRQE News 13 the fight is over.
“It really is at this point at the end of that business in Roswell by them,” said Valley Meat Attorney A. Blair Dunn.
On Thursday, Dunn submitted a letter to the New Mexico Environmental Department withdrawing the plant’s application for a ground water discharge permit.
The permit, which would allow the plant to discharge animal waste, is a must for the plant to operate.
Blair claims the department strung them along for seven months, never saying no the permit, but never saying yes either.
“They’ve been telling us well we need a 30-day extension, we need 45 days, we need 60, we cant make a decision right now,” said De Los Santos.
The letter states the inability of the Secretary to make a decision has contributed to the destruction of Valley Meat’s lawful business.
Valley Meet also claims the Attorney General’s office played a big role in the slaughterhouse closure and Dunn says there’s a good chance they’ll sue the state because of it.
Animal activists say they’re happy the horse slaughter fight is ending.
“It’s great news for New Mexico,” said Laura Bonar with Animal Protection of New Mexico. “Horse slaughter is cruel, horse slaughter is dangerous and horse slaughter is not supported by Americans.”
De Los Santos, who originally slaughtered cows for a living, claims the department wouldn’t give him a discharge permit for that, either.
He claims they wouldn’t approve it because they thought he might kill horses too.
The Environmental Department and the Attorney General’s office did not want to comment.