Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mixed Results on Slaughter Bills as State Legislatures Adjourn

by: Pat Raia
June 02 2009, Article # 14283

The sponsor of Tennessee legislation promoting horse processing plant development in that state is not giving up on the bill, although it's now stalled in the state's Senate Commerce Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank Niceley, HB 1428 would allow private investors to develop a horse slaughter plant in the state. It would also insulate prospective developers from legal challenges that state courts deem without merit. The bill passed the Tennessee House Agriculture Committee, but the Senate Commerce Committee adjourned before considering it.

The bill will remain in the committee until the legislature reconvenes in January 2010.

"We're just going to let it lay there until the next session," Niceley said. "We don't have to start over."

Another piece of legislation sponsored by Niceley, HJR 245 also remains in the Tennessee Senate's Finance Committee. This resolution instructs Tennessee's congressional delegation to oppose the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which would ban the export of horses for slaughter.

The Tennessee bills were among several similar measures introduced in state legislatures across the country with mixed results.

A Montana bill allowing horse processing plant development became law in May. A North Dakota measure authorizing a processing plant feasibility study in that state goes into effect in July.

Meanwhile, an effort to repeal Illinois' ban on horse slaughter failed.

Resolutions opposing the Conyers-Burton federal legislation also failed in Idaho and Minnesota.

However, similar resolutions passed in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. An Arizona resolution is pending.

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