Remember Premarin, PMU Foals, and the Rescues?

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So, here is yet another example of where the activist, the rescuer, the anti-slaughter people, and all the desperate pleas to help all the horses falls apart. Maybe I’m just that far out of the loop or I missed some big HUGE, enthusiastic news story that swept the horse world away…

…buuuuuuuuuuuut, I couldn’t find that story. I can’t seem to find any information regarding Premarin mares, PMU foals, or anything other rescue news pertaining to the horse urine industry newer than 2004.

What happened?

Did a more interesting, ground breaking, newsworthy, or noteworthy cause come along? Slaughter didn’t end in the US until 2007, so maybe all the people working on the Premarin issue put their time and energy into that.

But aren’t many, if not most, Premarin farms in Canada? Wouldn’t that mean foals and some mares are still GOING TO SLAUGHTER? Maybe horse slaughter protesting is only important in the US? I mean, I guess that’s Canada’s problem, and we all know Canadian horses aren’t as important as American horses.

I’m stumped.

I will say, from my research, all I can tell is that Premarin is still manufactured and prescribed, there don’t seem to be any active Premarin rescues (at least not online), and the only recent PMU rescue information is from the new Humane Society of the Untied States Horse Sactuary and Rescue Facility opening in Oregon.

Then I stumbled upon a story, shadowed, not very obvious, concerning Canadian horse welfare. The information was regarding the population of PMU horses (both mares and foals). Apparently, in 2002, a research study concluded long-term, high doses of hormones were putting (human) women at risk for breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. This prompted a new Premarin drug formula containing lower hormone levels, and thusly, less Pregnant Mare Urine was needed to produce the drug.

The cut in pharmaceutical production put farmers out of business and more importantly, horses out of a job (a terrible job, but still a job). Approximately 20,000 horses had to find “new homes” throughout Canada and the United States. In some other various articles, snippets, and archived rescue data between 2003-2004, I found many rescues going to sale houses, directly to kill buyers, and slaughterhouses, to buy many PMU mares. Who is to say how many horses found homes, or found their end on a European dinner plate? Obviously, no clear data exists to answer that question.

However, the nice, friendly, ever giving Wyeth pharmaceutical company whom has always cared about horse welfare formed a seven-member advisory board to help find homes for the horses that worked so hard to make them lots of money. Here is a quote from one of the board members:

    “Many of the mares went to embryo transfer facilities as recipient mares, while the younger horses wound up in various riding programs. Although some found their way to the Bouvry slaughter plant in Fort Macleod, the vast majority were placed in new homes in the eastern and western United States.”

Gee, how many?

Honestly, NONE of those horses should have wound up at a slaughter house. The kind folks from the nice, friendly pharmaceutical company should have paid to either euthanize the animals OR have them live out their days somewhere nice (though we would hate for a “slave-care” line item to cut into drug company profits).

Currently, there are still 5,600 mares on the Premarin production line. Lucky them. It’s too bad they don’t have anyone campaigning for their quality of life increases anymore. I’m sure the pregnant mares are much happier now. I’m sure it’s all nice and cozy for them. I mean the “ranches” have websites! They must not be hiding anything, right?

Yup, that could be it. The hard core Premarin activists must simply have been appeased. Makes sense that none of the existing Premarin mares are foals are being mistreated! I mean, come on! The non-profit North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC) is on the job! They’re not a shill for the pharmaceutical industry, are they?

By the way, please go to the NAERIC website: how creepy is that? Street drug dealers host better business fronts.

And so because of the Premarin industry, we still have an unknown standard of pregnant mare care, questionable ends for each foal, and up to 5,600 “by-product” foals produced every year needing homes. All this for the barbaric practice of collecting pregnant mare urine for use in a silly drug with MANY other synthetic options.

I’m not saying I have space in my back yard for all (or any) of the unwanted Premarin foals, and I certainly don’t have the time to secretly infiltrate the NAERIC ranks, but to all the former activisty people who took up the Premarin cause in the early 2000’s like it was the second coming (of Elvis):

Is the Premarin rescue job really done?

Or from a gratis marketing level, is has the Premarin cause simply been played out?