WHAT IS PREMARIN? Premarin is a drug whose name originates from a key ingredient, PREgnant MARe's urINe. It is prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of menopause by substituting equine estrogens for those naturally produced by the human body.
HOW MANY PREMARIN FARMS EXIST IN CANADA AND THE U.S.? According to 2000 statistics, there are approximately 450 farms in Canada and 50 farms in the U.S., located in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Indiana with approximately 60,000 mares.
WHAT IS OBJECTIONABLE ABOUT THE CARE THAT PREGNANT MARES RECEIVE ON PREMAIN FARMS? Pregnant mares used for Premarin production are confined to narrow tie stalls where they cannot turn or lie down for weeks at a time without release for exercise. PMU farmers state that new regulations require that the mares be turned out for two hours every two weeks! This chronic lack of exercise can cause severe swelling of the legs, breakdown of the hoof structure and sets the stage for colic.
WHY ARE PREMARIN PRODUCING MARES TREATED THIS WAY? Stalled horses yearn for release. Taking some mares out of the stable will create a major disturbance among those left behind. The manpower necessary to frequently unhook the mares from the urine collection harness for regular exercise would also decrease the farmer's profit margin. Premarin farming is not a small business; but, an $800,000,000 a year industry. Observers are denied access to PMU farms except for visits previously arranged. Wyeth-Ayrest now claims that some specific reforms; for example, discontinuing the practice of withholding water to concentrate the mare's urine have been initiated in response to pressure from humane groups. What is certain is that intense scrutiny is needed for an industry with a long history of inhumane abuses.
SINCE PREMARIN MARES MUST BE PREGNANT EACH YEAR, WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR FOALS? Although controversy surrounds the state of the Premarin producing mares, one fact is clear: 60,000 grade foals produced in isolated regions of central Canada have almost no chance to find homes as sport horses, working horses or pets. The majority will become casualties of slaughter. The two to five month old foals are taken from their mothers in early September and sent to auctions where they are sold by the pound to meatpackers. At one auction alone, 1,050 foals went through the auction process. Over 800 of these foals went to meat buyers.
HOW DOES SOUTH JERSEY EQUINE RESCUE FOALS? In September, South Jersey Equine Rescue will send a few represenatives to the Canadian auctions to purchase PMU foals on behalf of their American sponsors. Persons willing to adopt a Premarin foal may apply to South Jersey Equine Rescue (firstname.lastname@example.org) at anytime of the year. Designate what type of foal they would like to adopt and reserve their foal by sending a $450 deposit by August 15th which will be applied to the purchase, Health Certificates, Coggins and shipping cost. People who would like to help the foals survive but cannot provide a home may send a contribution of any amount to build our FOAL RESCUE FUND. This fund allows South Jersey Equine Rescue to rescue as many foals as possible and later place them in appropriate adoptive homes. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ADOPT? Expenses will vary depending on two factors: the initial cost of the foal at the auction and, the distance the foal must be shipped. All foals are purchased between September 1st and September 15th and are immediately shipped by certified carrier to their respective destinations. On the average, foals sent to the east coast costs $600(US) delivered. Included in the amount, is the auction purchase price, shipping to regional locations, Coggins test, vaccinations, and the U.S. border veterinarian inspection fee. Final shipping expenses could vary with special circumstances. South Jersey Equine Rescue is a non-profit organization and all charges to adopt PMU foals are factored at cost.