Montana House Backs Slaughter Bill

The Montana House of Representatives strongly endorsed a bill Feb. 24 that paves the way for construction of a horse slaughterhouse in Montana and aims to bring the industry back to the United States (read more).

"This bill is really providing a humane and regulated processing plant," said the sponsor, Republican Rep. Ed Butcher, a horse owner from the central Montana farm community of Winifred. "Demand is there. We want a humane way to address the problem."

The measure was endorsed 67-33 in the first of two scheduled House votes. If it passes again Feb. 25 as expected, it will go to the Senate for more hearings and votes.

Butcher said his bill gives investors assurance Montana will treat their businesses fairly if they build in the state. He was backed by agriculture interests on both sides of the aisle.

Cavel International Inc. shut down its DeKalb, Ill., operation after the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2007 upheld an Illinois law prohibiting slaughter of horses for human consumption. Opponents argued that a horse slaughterhouse should not be granted special exemptions from environmental and other laws, and should be treated like any factory.

Democratic Rep. Sue Malek said animals should be more justly treated. "We need to care about animals and be responsible owners," she said.

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The Associated Press

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