By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Keep your fingers crossed that Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer soon vetoes a bill that would allow horse slaughter back into the United States.
Gov. Schweitzer has already sent the bill back to the Montana House and Senate with an amendatory veto, but the chambers, apparently in the pocket of the horse meat industry, refused to change the bill and sent it back to the governor in its original form.
One of the main supporters of the bill, if not the main one, is Rep. Ed Butcher. The guy is not only in favor of a practice disdained by most Americans, to wit, horse slaughter, but has shown disrespect for special needs children, referring to them in 2004 as "vegetables".
More recently, he referred to his fellow legislator and Native American Jonathan Windy Boy (Chippewa Cree) as "Chief" on the Montana House floor and inquired whether he would wield his vice-chairman's gavel as a 'war club'". Mr. Butcher did later apologize.
Since horse slaughter was banned in the United States, most of our unwanted horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. A Canadian Broadcasting Company investigation into conditions at a horse slaughter plant there raised questions about whether it is possible to slaughter horses "humanely." My opinion is that is impossible and people engaged in this trade have a singular ability to ignore the terror, pain and cruelty they inflict on other animals (man being an animal, too.) According to the CBC:
One scene from the video footage shows a stun gun operator repeatedly hitting an unco-operative horse with a stick. There was also evidence horses had been transported with their horseshoes still on, which violates regulations, unless the animals are separated in the truck, because the horses could hurt each other.
It's a disgusting, dirty business and the fact Montana legislators would seriously consider bringing it back to the United States is heart-breaking. Let's hope Gov. Schweitzer remains on the side of the righteous.
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