Montana backs horse slaughterhouse option

February 26, 2009

Montana's House of Representatives has voted 67-33 in favour of a bill intended to open the way for a horse slaughter plant in the state.

The bill was to face a second vote in the House today and, if passed again, will proceed to the state's Senate.

The bill is being sponsored by Republican Representive Ed Butcher, whose stand has raised the ire of horse welfare groups.

Slaughter plants have not operated in the US since 2007, when state bans closed the remaining three plants.

Since then, the number of horses being shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter has risen dramatically.

Butcher argues a slaughterhouse is needed because of the rising number of cases of horse abandonment and cruelty, which have escalated with the current economic woes.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, moves are afoot to lift the state ban that resulted in the closure of the plant operated at DeKalb.

The Illinois House Agriculture and Conservation Committee has voted for a bill promoted by Republican Representative Jim Sacia to remove the ban.

The bill will now be considered by the full house.