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Anti-Premarin – Saving Horses and Educating Women

Saving Horses

For more than 40 years, Premarin was the most popular drug in the United States, with doctors writing an estimated nine million prescriptions to treat menopausal symptoms. Because Premarin is made with estrogens extracted from pregnant mares’ urine (PMU), thousands of mares suffer to produce this bitter pill, and their byproduct foals don’t fare much better.

What happens to PMU mares?
The mares are forced to stand in narrow stalls with urine collection devices strapped to them for months on end. The stalls are deliberately narrow to prevent pregnant mares from turning or lying down and detaching the collection cups. Their water intake may also be restricted to concentrate the estrogen in the urine, which can lead to swollen legs, sore hooves and other health problems. Many of these mares get little or no exercise for the six months they are forced to stand in the barns. And, when they are too tired, too old or too surly to stand on the “pee lines,” the reward for their years of service is often a trip to the slaughterhouse.

Premarin Mare and her FoalWhat about the foals who are born every year?
The manufacturers of PMU drugs would like us to believe that the foals born as a result of these pregnancies are sold as companion animals. But there just aren’t enough homes for an estimated 7,000 unwanted foals each year. The fillies sometimes grow up to replace their worn-out mothers. But the colts are weaned from their mothers too early, and frequently sold to slaughter, their meat shipped to Europe for human consumption.

Don’t PMU ranchers have to comply with humane standards of care?
Unfortunately, no official body regulates the PMU industry. The North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC) represents horse breeders and ranchers engaged in the collection of pregnant mares’ urine. NAERIC produces a Code of Practice that outlines care guidelines for PMU mares, but following these guidelines is voluntary. And, one glance at the guidelines shows that they are woefully inadequate. For example, the recommended minimum stall width is only five feet, and exercise is recommended only “as necessary”.

What about the health risks to women?
The Women’s Health Initiative recently completed a 15-year study that revealed taking PMU drugs like Premarin and Prempro may lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, dementia and breast cancer. Given these findings, millions of women have stopped taking PMU drugs. Yet many continue to rely on these drugs to alleviate menopausal symptoms and Wyeth, the manufacturer of Premarin, continues to market them aggressively.

What can women do?
For every 150 women who stop taking Premarin, one mare is spared from the “pee line” and seven or eight byproduct foals will not be slaughtered for their meat. Talk to your doctor about ways to alleviate menopausal system through lifestyle and diet changes, or discuss synthetic or plant-derived HRT alternatives such as:

  • Cenestin
  • Estrace
  • Estraderm
  • Ogen
  • OrthoEst
  • Estratab
  • Menest
  • Estinyl
  • Estrovirus
  • OrthoDienestrol
  • Tace

You can also talk to friendly medical professionals about alternatives and learn from other women who have committed to avoiding Premarin.