Emotions rear up for horse-slaughter bill
By JOHN S. ADAMS Tribune Capitol Bureau • March 13, 2009
HELENA — Emotions ran high during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday as lawmakers heard a bill that would allow the construction of a horse slaughter facility in Montana.
Proponents of House Bill 418, sponsored by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, said the bill would help satisfy a nationwide need for disposing of unwanted horses, while producing dozens of jobs in Montana.
Butcher said the last equine slaughterhouse in the nation closed in 2007, leaving horse owners with few options for disposing of sick, injured and unwanted horses.
"People tried, with good intentions, to ban horse processing in the hopes of saving the animal," said bill proponent Kelly Ann Terry. "This plan has backfired, and what was initially a grand theory has now put much of the horse population in greater jeopardy than it has ever been before." Read More
The Montana Legislature continues working on a bill that would build a horse processing facility. It has overwhelmingly passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate. If built, it would be the only such facility in the United States. When owners are being forced to choose between feeding their families or feeding their horses, a humane option like this would be a welcome relief. This is a resource that would be a shame to waste.