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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Speech for the SAFE Act – Fred Hudson

The following is a speech being presented today by horseman Fred Hudson at the USDA as part of a national demonstration in support the SAFE Act .

His comments are presented in their entirety. 

September 22, 2016 at USDA, Washington DC

Thank you, everyone, who is here today – I know that many of you have made many personal sacrifices to be here today (thank you). We are here today to speak for the horses who cannot speak for themselves. As God’s appointed caretakers of them we are not doing a very good job – but today we can change that and we can send out a message that will change everything and end the shipment of our horses to other countries so they can be slaughtered. Today, together, we can end the slaughter of our American horses that also represent a symbol of who we are as “Americans”.

I am a third generation Standardbred horse trainer. I grew up with horses, and horses have always been a part of my life. At one time, I trained and managed one of the largest stables in the country. Today I act as a consultant and adviser to several horse owners and I coauthored the Amazon best-seller, Roosevelt Raceway. I am very active with the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and I am working with other Standardbred leaders on efforts to establish a Standardbred Aftercare Alliance*.

When I first started training horses, most horses raced on a combination of hay, oats, and water – adding some vitamins like B-12 and a little liver and iron and maybe a post-treatment of bute (Phenylbutazone), a pain and anti-inflammatory drug.

Today, horses are treated with legal medications for bleeding, anti-inflammatory drugs, wormers, drugs for infections, ulcers, allergies, sedatives/tranquilizers, steroids and many others. 70% of all medications used on horses clearly state on the label “Not to be used for treatment on animals intended for human consumption”.

Bute has been and is the most common medication used on horses – for that reason alone no horse should be in the human food chain. Even the pet food companies won't use horses in their feeds for it being so unsafe for pets to eat.

In the racing industry, we also have the illegal medications that the unscrupulous trainers use. The performance enhancement drugs with names like elephant juice, frog juice, milkshakes, the muscle relaxers, and the blood doping that increases the oxygen supply to the muscles. We have no idea of what they are using and they would be more likely to sell a horse to slaughter over an honest trainer/owner.

Last year Nancy Watson, one of the founders of Safe Food Safe Horses, asked me to speak here as she did this year. Nancy's family and mine go back many years . Her stepfather, Jim, is a good friend of mine and her grandfather, Cecil, in the 1950's won the American Trotting Championship twice and he was good friends with my dad.

Over the past year I, along with Nancy and many others, have been working behind the scenes contacting and meeting with many members of Congress trying to gain support and co-sponsors for the SAFE Act. We currently stand at 196 in the house and 29 in the Senate. The Bill is now in committees with both houses – We need to get this bill out of the committees and onto the floors for a vote.

The racing industries, Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, have taken great steps forward in trying to prevent their horses from this horrible death. The Thoroughbreds have set up the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Some of their efforts include a $5 entry fee for all horses that race and that money is diverted to the TAA to care for horses. Also many of the tracks now bar or take the racing privileges away from trainers and owners that knowingly sell a horse to be slaughtered.

With the Standardbreds – a few months ago I was invited to attend a meeting that was held at the Meadowlands and arranged by Jeff Gural (owner of the Meadowlands) and Michelle Crawford (owner of Crawford Farms). In that meeting were industry leading trainers, rescue farms, a United States Trotting Association representative and at that meeting we took the first step in forming the Standardbred Aftercare Alliance. Jeff Gural and Michelle Crawford graciously offered the seed money. Crawford farms has also set up a section of their farm as a sanctuary for rescued horses and Michelle has saved many horses this year.

Also at that meeting was my good friend Judy Bokman, the founder of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. I spoke of Judy last year when I told the story of how she formed the SRF by throwing herself in front of a truck that had a horse bound for slaughter, and how she saved that horse, and that horse became the first of her 2700 plus saves. A few weeks ago she saved 10 horses from a kill buyer and then the following week she went to another kill buyer to save one horse and ended up saving three and one of them so that the horse could be humanly put down to end his suffering.

The SRF is a role model for all rescues to follow. They never give up the ownership of the horses that are adopted from them and they constantly follow up with the adopters throughout the life of every horse that has been adopted. They currently have over 200 horses in their care.

I was privileged this year to work with Grammy winner, Trade Martin, as he produced a commercial for the SRF and wrote a song for them, titled “I can't Say How Much I Love You”.

The statistics show that 69% of the horses slaughtered in Canada come from the U.S. Last year we sent 40,000 horses to Canada to be slaughtered and we sent another 85,000 to Mexico to be slaughtered for a total of 125,000 – down 15,000 from the previous year. The European Union has barred horse-meat from Mexico. We import from Mexico hundreds of millions of pounds of ground-beef and through DNA testing 39% of meat tested – tested positive for horse. So I guess that Mexico has found a new market for the unwanted horse-meat that the European Union has rejected. I cannot imagine eating a horse – I find it repulsive and it just turns my stomach to think of it.

We need to start enforcing the laws that Congress has currently put in place. We cannot allow the kill buyer to continue to fill out his own paperwork – which he knowingly falsifies. We need to enforce the animal cruelty laws. We also need to hold the auction houses that sell these horses accountable for selling horses that they know are loaded with drugs that are not allowed in animals intended for human consumption.

To Congress and the members of the Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Sub-Committee of Livestock and Foreign Agriculture – 80% of the American people – I will repeat that - 80% of the American people want an end to horse slaughter. Get this bill, the Safeguard American Food Export Act on the floor for a vote. It is the will of the people. And it will end the slaughter of our American horses.

Thank you.

In my speech - I didn't mention who sat in on the meeting to form or start to form the Standardbred Aftercare Alliance - the two trainers that sat in were Tony Alagna and Nancy Johansson - The USTA representative was Ellen Harvey. 

1 comment:


Thank you for your contribution to the cause. I heard your speech online. It was powerful.