ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - First UFO's, now something else.
Roswell is gaining national attention for what has become a national controversy, the continuing fight to open up the nation's first and only horse slaughterhouse.
Valley Meat Company is still working through the court process to open up, and in the meantime two horse advocacy groups are taking to the streets with a new way to call attention to the still-unsettled debate.
These days, type Roswell, NM into an Internet search bar and one will still find tons of articles about alien encounters. But now, one will also find something else.
Word is spreading across the United States about Roswell's relationship with horse slaughter.
In the heart of the city sits the anti-horse-slaughter billboard sponsored by a pair of advocacy groups.
"I don't look at it everyday. I don't pay any attention to it, and I have no control over the sign," said Roswell real estate broker Lynn Graves.
The sign that reads "Please Don't Slaughter Us" in big, bold type is right next to Graves's realty business.
Although he can't control it, he says he doesn't agree with the message.
"I'm opposed to what they're advertising up there," said Graves. "This is a more humane way to handle them than turn them out in the woods with nothing to eat, nothing to drink and let them starve to death."
The newest advertisement on Second Street is just one more part of the ongoing debate between supporters and opponents of horse slaughter.
Roswell city officials say they haven't stopped getting calls about the controversy.
"We have had a number of comments, complaints registered not from just people locally but people from all over the country about the situation and people expressing their views and their sentiments about what's is proposed to go on," Roswell City Manager Larry Fry.
Some Roswell residents told KRQE News 13 all they want is for life to get back to normal and for the UFO mystery to be what the town is known for, not the slaughterhouse.
"It's kind of sad that it kind of takes away from everything that we've always been here for," said Roswell resident Sissy Newberry.
City officials say there's not a whole lot they can do about the slaughterhouse because it's outside their jurisdiction.
A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against Valley Meat Company earlier this month.
The animal welfare groups challenging the slaughterhouse had to post a $500,000 bond to cover Valley Meat's losses for the next 30 days should the animal rights groups lose the battle.
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