Friday, April 17, 2009

Montana legislature rejects amendments to horse slaughter bill

The Montana Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly rejected the amendments to a bill that would establish a horse slaughter facility for human consumption in the state.

House Bill 418 now goes back to the desk of Governor Brian Schweitzer in its original form. Schweitzer has ten days to either veto the bill or sign it into law, according to the Associated Press.

On Friday, the state Senate rejected Schweitzer’s amendments to House Bill 418 by a 44-5 margin. The state House of Representatives rejected the amendments 59-41 on April 9.

The bill, introduced by state Representative Ed Butcher (R-Winifred), allows the construction of a horse-slaughter facility and offered it legal protection from anyone challenging the legality of the plant.

The state legislature originally passed the measure on March 20. In addition to allowing the construction of a horse-slaughter facility, it would also have forced anyone wishing to contest the construction of a plant to post a bon equal to 20% of the estimated construction costs. Also, it would prohibit a court from issuing an injunction based on a challenge brought form the public.

On April 3, Schweitzer added amendments to the bill that eliminated the special legal protections offered to the plant and sent it back to the legislature.

Butcher said the proposed plant would accept all breeds of equine from in- and out-of-state.

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