ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The New Mexico Environment Department on Monday dealt a new blow to a Roswell company's hard-fought attempts to begin slaughtering horses next month, declining a request to renew Valley Meat Co.'s wastewater discharge permit.
The denial came the same day that actor Robert Redford and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson joined the divisive debate, announcing formation of an animal protection foundation to fight a return to domestic horse slaughter.
The NMED says it won't renew the permit without a public hearing, noting it has received more than 450 comments against letting the former cattle slaughterhouse open as a horse slaughter plant.
Valley Meat Co. attorney Blair Dunn cried foul, saying the agency was unfairly targeting a small family-owned business. He says the plant can still open, but would have to haul its waste.