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Horse slaughter riles, but may lack legs

HELENA, Mont. (AP)--Inspection hurdles could discourage a horse slaughterhouse from settling in Montana, even if the governor signs a controversial horse slaughter bill.

House Bill 418 has passed both chambers of the Montana Legislature. It now awaits action by Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, provides legal protections for any slaughter facility setting up shop in Montana.

But federal rules about the inspection of horse meat might make these protections irrelevant.

Only the U.S. Department of Agriculture can inspect meat destined for overseas markets, where horses are consumed by humans. But, since 2006, that agency has been barred from inspecting horse slaughterhouses.

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