Friday, April 3, 2009


Schweitzer vetoes, amends horse-slaughter bill

Schweitzer vetoes, amends horse-slaughter bill
By The Independent Record - 4/3/09
Gov. Brian Schweitzer sent House Bill 418, the horse-slaughter bill, back to the Legislature for amendment, exercising his amendatory veto power.

Rep. Ed Butcher, who sponsored the bill, says he will fight the veto, which would send the measure back to Schweitzer for an up-or-down veto or signing.

Schweitzer’s amendments specifically address the limitations imposed upon the citizens of Montana to bring a legal challenge to a license approving a horse-slaughter facility. His proposed amendments would strike that from HB418. There are other amendments, too.

“I begin by saying that my proposed amendments do not prevent the licensing and operation of a horse slaughter facility in Montana,” Schweitzer wrote in a letter to Speaker of the House Bob Bergren. “My amendments retain those aspects of HB 418 that clarify existing law to ensure that a horse slaughter facility, if licensed to operate in Montana, conforms to Montana’s current laws pertaining to all livestock slaughter facilities. My amendments are focused on eliminating what I believe is the unnecessary and potentially harmful special treatment that would be granted to one particular industry under this bill.

“Before addressing my specific amendments, I want you to know that, like you, I believe horse owners must be responsible for the health and care of their animals. Like you, I believe it is unacceptable that any horse would be left starving or to die due to neglect. I also believe owners should have access to a legal method to put their horses down as necessary and appropriate — due to age, infirmity, or other legitimate circumstances.

“While I understand the value in licensing horse slaughter facilities, it is equally important that any facility approved to operate in Montana comply with this state’s health and environmental laws. Therefore, a person applying to license a horse slaughter facility who wishes to do so in accordance with Montana law has nothing to fear from the amendments I propose.”

See also:

Horse-slaughter measure is OK except for one thing

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