PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) Industry
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Pregnant mares on the urine assembly line

What is a PMU farm?

Pharmaceutical companies pay farmers to breed thousands of mares each year to collect the pregnant mares urine and as per their contract with the Pharmaceutical company,  the urine is purchased and used to make Hormone Replacement Therapies

(HRT’S)….most prescribed is Premarin.

With the introduction of synthetic HRT’s many people ask if Premarin is still being used. The answer is yes, doctors are still prescribing Premarin although it’s use has been dramatically reduced in recent years, as a result causing the number of barns producing PMU to be reduced.

1999 – 400 barns
2003 – 280 barns
2008 – 60 barns
39 more let go May 2010,
leaving only 20 in operation.

A by product of the PMU industry, is the resulting foal born to the PMU mare. The foals are referred to as PMU foals. These foals are born by the thousands and as soon as possible shipped off to slaughter to begin another crop of foals for the sake of collecting a Pregnant Mares Urine.

In the early years FHHR did provide safe haven for PMU foals. As rescues got more involved with the PMU Farmers while trying to save foals from slaughter they (the farmers) learned they could put a large ransom on the foals heads and sell them to rescues before sending them to slaughter.

It became very expensive to export the foals from Canada. Several rescues took advantage of the situation and stepped in as middlemen negotiating deals with the farmers to allow them to purchase their foal crop at greatly reduced rates. The rescues would then make money selling them to the unskilled general public as a novelty.

Many other rescues stepped in and took on more than they could care for and lost their footing and crumbled trying to do no more than genuinely help the horses.

Gradually… the contracts to the farms dwindled as awareness was raised to the fact that Premarin has strong ties to cancer in the patients that use it. Due to health risks the demand for Premarin, Prempro and like drugs has continued into a downward spiral.

To the benefit of many of the resulting foals, the Canadian Farmers also learned over time that if they bred better than average foals, they had a market to sell their babies to the U.S. This has improved the foals chances to live and given the farmer a viable humane outlet for his commodity.

Animal advocates played a large role in the diminishing PMU farms and HRT’s processed from Pregnant Mares Urine. They also provided a platform for women to express their fears about using a drug that was considered by many to be a carcinogen AND encouraged animal endangerment (mares stand for months on end with catheters attached to their bladders. They acquire severe leg ailments and are not given space to lie down and rest as they need to).

If you are interested in learning more about this often called “Dirty little Secret”, Visit the links below…

http://www.agcanada.com/Article.aspx?ID=22848

http://www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=75

http://tuesdayshorse.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-pmu-industry/

http://www.infohorse.com/pmuhorse.asp

http://www.equinerescue.info/links.html

 
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