Roswell slaughterhouse protest continues

Posted at: 10/17/2013 6:40 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The debate over a horse slaughterhouse outside of Roswell continues as a hearing is quickly approaching.  Thursday, protestors began their fight outside the courthouse, and plan to be there up until the hearing.  KOB Eyewitness News 4 talked to both sides.

Protestors in Roswell are not backing down.

"I feel that if we start human consumption slaughter, that we're soon going to start human consumption in the United States. And to me that is just absolutely disgusting. It’s like eating your dog," said protestor Beverley Hughes.

“We started a petition.  We’ve received over 3,000 signatures in 11 days from all over the country.  Canada, Mexico, and even overseas, no one wants horse slaughtering, no one wants to eat the meat, it’s not good it's toxic," said protestor Lisa Cummings-Kowals.

Cummings-Kowals said if the slaughterhouse opens, she will move out of Roswell.

"I don't want to live in a town where it smells like dead rotting meat," said Cummings-Kowals.

The final call on whether to open the slaughterhouse could be soon, but first a hearing to decide whether to renew the plant’s water discharge permit.

The hearing will be held at the Chaves County courthouse on Tuesday.

"This is business as usual.  It should be renewed, and there is not a threat to the environment from renewing this permit.  The Environment Department agrees with that," said the attorney for Valley Meat Company, A. Blair Dunn.

Valley Meat said even if the permit is not renewed, they have a backup plan.  The company will haul the waste off on trucks. 

But for the protestors, it’s personal.

"They're pets, they're companion animals, they're not cows. And I am just completely against it for health reasons, for moral reasons, and yes for emotional reasons I love horses," said Hughes.

If the permit is renewed, Valley Meat will still need to get federal approval.  That decision is expected to be made at the end of this month.  If Valley Meat gets the approval, it plans to open as early as November.