Posted at: 12/19/2013 10:31 AM
Updated at: 12/19/2013 2:30 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com
New Mexico's attorney general is suing to stop a horse slaughter plant from opening in Roswell on Jan. 1.
At a press conference on Thursday, Attorney General Gary King said he will sue Valley Meat Company for violating state and federal environmental and safety laws.
According to the suit, Valley Meat repeatedly violated state groundwater monitoring requirements when it operated as a cattle slaughterhouse between 1986 and 2005. The suit also claims Valley Meat failed to renew its permit for discharging wastewater from 2010 until 2012. Over this period of time, the suit alleges that Valley Meat illegally dumped the remains of hundreds of slaughtered animals on the grounds of the plant, forming "massive piles of rotting flesh and bones."
In a statement to KOB, Valley Meat's attorney said it was preposterous to sue a company for "anticipated violations" and to rely on "bad science to make defamatory conclusions about a product."
"We are very disappointed that Gary King continues to waste tax payer money to harass and bully a lawful business that would supply much needed jobs to Roswell," the statement read. "...this type of merit-less, frivolous, harassment and bullying of Hispanic small business through the filing of litigation is malicious abuse of the civil process and opens the State of New Mexico up to civil liability. "
Valley Meat owner Rick De Los Santos told KOB he has international contracts lined up for the plant, 15 employees ready to work and 20 horses from Nevada for slaughter. He plans to open the plant at the beginning of 2014.