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New Mexico bears brunt of horse-slaughter debate

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ROSWELL, N.M. — Dressed in blue jeans, boots and an oversized cowboy hat, Smiley Wooton walked the grounds of his animal auction house here, detailing the intricacies of livestock life and death — whether it’s a cow, pig or goat.

The barrel-chested rancher, who is also a Chaves County commissioner, says making informed decisions on which animals live and which go to slaughter is ingrained in the cultural fabric of this agricultural community of 48,000 in southeastern New Mexico, even among its children.

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