Montana, North Dakota Horse Slaughter Bills Advance

Legislation to establish privately owned horse processing plants in the United States advanced this week in two Western states.

On March 24, the North Dakota State Senate approved HB 1496, authorizing a $50,000 study to evaluate potential legal challenges to slaughter plant development in that state.

The bill will return to the North Dakota House for final consensus before moving on to Gov. John Hoeven's desk.

"The bill is pretty veto proof, so I don't see the Governor not signing it," said State Sen. Joe Miller, a co-sponsor.

Meanwhile, a Montana bill arrived on Gov. Brian Schweitzer's desk March 24 after its passage by the state's Senate. HB 418 prohibits Montana courts from granting injunctions to stop or delay horse processing plant construction based on permit or licensing challenges, or on environmental grounds. It also requires that anyone challenging permits submit a surety bond representing 20% of the facility's estimated building cost, and awards attorney and court fees to plaintiffs in cases District Courts deem harassing or without merit.

But HB 418 does not need Schweitzer's signature to become law, said sponsor Rep. Ed Butcher.

"He can sign it, veto it, or not sign it," Butcher said. "If it stays on his desk for 10 days, it becomes statute."

Similar legislation remains pending in several states.  

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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