Saturday, May 2, 2009

Montana Passes Horse-Slaughter Bill

In disturbing news, legislation to allow horse slaughterhouses to operate in Montana while limiting opportunities for legal action against them became law today.

HELENA, Montana - Today has been a setback of epic proportions.

Legislation to allow investor-owned horse slaughterhouses in Montana while limiting opportunities for legal action against them became law on Friday.

Friday was the deadline for Gov. Brian Schweitzer to act and, when no action was taken, House Bill 418 automatically became law.

The bill includes some protection against court injunctions that would stop or delay slaughterhouse construction. The measure sponsored by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, aims to limit the kind of legal challenges that forced the last U.S. slaughterhouses, which were in Illinois and Texas, to close in 2007.

During the 2009 legislative session, which ended Tuesday, Schweitzer rejected the limit on legal action. He said it would strip people of appeal rights important in environmental protection. The Legislature then rejected the changes Schweitzer’s proposed.

The aptly named Butcher said during the session that the governor’s amendments would make the bill “an empty shell because nobody’s going to invest five to six million in a business in Montana if they’re going to be harassed.”

Schweitzer has said that as an owner of livestock and horses, he supports the humane processing of horses to produce meat for human consumption.

His communications director, Sarah Elliott, issued a terse statement Friday, saying only that “the governor made his opinion on this bill known, the Legislature did the same. No action was taken and the bill has now become law.”

The bill brought lawmakers and the governor a flood of e-mails and telephone messages, from across the country, in support of the legislation and against it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment that the problem with horse slaughter is that breeders need to conroll and be responsible for their animals. The problem is back yard breeders and horse owners that do not take care of their stock. I have been in the horse industry for years, and I would never dream of sending my horses to slaughter, however, I have sent other horses to "kill buyers" before. The horse slaughter market affected more than just the bottom end of horses. It changed the entire scale of what horses are worth. Feed and care expenses have skyrocketed and the sad truth is there are animals that will never be usefull for anything other than meet. Due to attitude, birth defects, permanent injuries, etc. they will never be sound for breeding and never will be sound for riding. So what has happened is an overabundance of shitty horses. I am sorry to say they are to much of a tax on the resources. If you don't believe me, spend six months in the horse industry. YOu combine a poor economy and an excess of horses, and you get an industry that was thriving and is now going in the tank. People don't think the way they were slaughtering horses was humane, write laws controlling what is and is not allowed in the plants and controll gelding horses.