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Questions At Taos Community Development Matanza Meeting

The Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) held a packed public meeting on February 7 to discuss the new Matanza Project’s tentatively scheduled start of operations in autumn, 2024. The majority in attendance were in support of it.

The matanza is a project of the TCEDC to bring a small-scale meat-processing facility to Taos County, funded through the New Mexico Food Security Grant to the tune of $1.4 million. The goal of the matanza is to improve local food security throughout Taos County and northern New Mexico as well as ease the burden on ranchers in transporting their livestock.

Currently the nearest slaughter operations are in Romero and Manassa, Colorado, on Colorado Highway 285 east of San Luis and south of Alamosa. This matanza will initially be able to process 50 carcasses with no more than three live farm animals being slaughtered at one time.

TCEDC Executive Director Mercedes Rodriguez explained the due diligence that TCEDC has been taking to address efficiency and self-sustaining profitability, more so than the previous matanza, which ceased operation in 2012. This new matanza project has been in the works for over a year.

“The original plan for the New Mexico Food Security Grant through TCEDC was that we were going to upgrade… our commissary kitchen… for value-added processing; we were going to be making partners to address school lunches and local food being put into those institutional meals; we were going to develop a wash-&-pack facility for the growers to be able to come in and utilize the facility within our community; and we were going to develop out, plan out, and put into place a meat processing facility to enhance the mobile slaughter unit that TCEDC already owned,” explained TCEDC Director Rodriguez. “Now, [we’re dealing with] funding constraints: we requested $1.6 [million], we received $1.4. Everything was cut from the budget with the exception of meat processing.”

Rodriguez explained that the TCEDC will still be partnering with the Taos Municipal Schools now that they’ve received half a million dollars through an infrastructure grant, with help from TCEDC and Taos County.

“Everything is being done by the book, everything is being addressed… to make sure that the infrastructure is in place for an economic and viable food system within our community,” said Rodriguez.
There was also much concern over the critics of this matanza and how the arguments made against it are allegedly reactionary and emotional. The sentiment at this meeting was in favor of better educating the public on the humane methods of slaughtering farm animals for consumption and how local food processing centers make communities more resilient and self-sustaining. The public meeting crowd consisted of ranchers from Taos all the way to Costilla, and they all were in support of a more local slaughterhouse for their products.

Recordings of the 2/7 TCEDC meeting are available on the Questa del Rio News’ YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_T8avj9jtg&list=PL9QoNiRuSPyiKFcFw7zrmm3iJKxB4-LOi