SANTA FE — The debate over a horse meat processing plant keeps getting more intense.
One day after New Mexico Watchdog first reported that the Navajo Nation supports a controversial horse meat processing plant in Roswell, two state representatives who are members of the tribe agreed, saying the Valley Meat Co. should be able to open its doors as the first horse slaughterhouse approved in the U.S. in seven years.
And one of them criticized Gov. Susana Martinez for opposing the facility and accused former Gov. Bill Richardson of “grandstanding.”
“These people want to tell us how to manage our land and our lives, but are unwilling to provide financial backing to fund their agendas,” Jeff said. “They would rather spend their money on lawsuits and chase media.” The statement accused Richardson and others of “political grandstanding.”
Last week, Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswel, who often speaks from the House floor of her love for horses, came out in support Valley Meat Co., telling the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership, that irresponsible owners are abandoning horses on ranches, reservations and public lands, where they eat vegetation, drink up water in drought-ridden areas and sometimes starve to death.
“In my area, we have so many wild horses that are breaking down fences, you can’t believe it,” Clahchischilliage said.
The Navajo Nation estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 feral horses are roaming throughout the reservation’s 27,425 square miles. “A lot these horses have no owners, they’re not branded,” Clahchischilliage said.
Emotions are running high. Last weekend, the owners of the Valley Meat Co. reported a fire on the company’s property and Chaves County officials say they suspect arson.
U.S. District Court judge will hear arguments Friday, August 2, 2013, from opponents of the horse slaughter plant who have filed a motion to keep the plant from opening.
Read Jeff’s entire statement by clicking here.