BUTTE — A bill that would have required the state to develop a management plan for wild horses imported into Montana was voted down in committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 402, sponsored by Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings, was defeated 6-5 by the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee.

Besides a management plan, the Montana Department of Livestock also would have charged a fee of $100 on each imported horse or burro.

Van Dyk had worked with two Republicans, Sen. Taylor Brown of Huntley and Sen. Eric Moore of Miles City, in crafting the bill.

"We talked about how this might happen," Van Dyk told the Montana Standard on Tuesday evening after the vote. "We introduced this at a late date, but we elevated the issue and it's far from over. Hopefully, we can pick it up at the next session. These things take time."

The Bureau of Land Management completed the transfer of 700 wild horses last month to the Spanish Q Ranch outside of Ennis. The Spanish Q is the first long-term holding facility for wild horses in Montana, but it was delayed for a number of years in no small part because of resistance of neighboring ranch owners about the horses' effect on irrigation, livestock, and wild life.

The bill attempted to address some of those concerns, but it was up against a tight timeline. If the bill had passed the Senate committee, it would have had to pass through the full Senate and make it to the House by Friday. As day 71 of the current legislative session, Friday is the deadline for a revenue bill to be presented in both the Senate and the House.

Some committee members expressed concern about the $100 import fee, even though the bill was stripped of a retroactive clause that would have covered the 700 horses already at the Spanish Q.

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(6) comments


When is MT going to quit letting the federal government and wildlife agencies run over the top of us? This needs to end. Slaughter those horses and feed the hungry. Will soon be considered an endemic animal and then need federal protection until they roam free in Montana. There were no horses here until the Spanish brought them. Land bridge migrants helped to exterminate native species 20,000 years ago along with mammoth during last ice age. Those horses were a different species. These horses are not from here and should not be wild. Thanks to the eco-bunny romanticisers, the "majestic" horse will stay. How different is "majestic" wild pig in Texas, Florida, and California? They both harm the environment and are NOT native.

Thanks federal govt for spending tax dollars on a worthwhile cause. Grass lease around $1.75/hd/mnth? That doesn't pay taxes on a ranch in Ennis. Scam, Scam,Scam! Human throats and rear sides can only have so much forced in. Stupid People Again, etc,etc,etc,...

lefty the cowboy

Some people studiously avoid the facts. Changing the status of semi free roaming horses and burros will take an act of Congress, literally. Good luck getting that body to agree on anything. 'StpPple' (personally I try not to be one) assumes "eco-bunnies" misunderstand both recent and ancient history, but this is completely wrong. Everyone interested understands the modern horse is not native to the Americas. Some of the surviving horses, call them 'wild' or 'feral', have been genetically linked to the original Spanish Barbs that spread across N. American in the 1600 and 1700s, and were captured and domesticated by native peoples. Others do not have this pedigree, and were originally just settler horses gone feral.... but it is a moot point, enough people wanted them protected Congress passed legislation (then they put the foxes in charge of these 'chickens'). Until I hear different, I am going to assume this ranch still has to pay taxes.


Thanks for stating the feel good feelings of the people. when you finally shake your clothes off and stand up for something I will respect you. Otherwise, you just argue with every person that comments. Grow a set. If you are going to comment then either agree with me or disagree. The ranch pays taxes but the lease money they receive for 700 horses does not even cover the yearly property tax. Don't insult me with your repetitious facts. A grade schooler can do that. And by the way, what is the most important designation for a mammal? Status. I wish I had status. Make a point or go away. Its time to stand out or sit down. semi free roaming means nothing. that means the same thing as "almost free driving?" come on. and chickens? There is a whole world out there beyond your fingertips. Quit typing nonsense and try evoking a response that matters. Year long income of horse lease does not pay taxes for an Ennis ranch! Burros?? How old is ancient?? Please!!


These jokers are a disgrace


Isn't it time that the budget and education were addressed rather than bringing last minute bills that waste time and money.


"Wild -Horse Burgers, there, problem solved.

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