Raising Awareness, One Blog Post at a Time

As bloggers, we have the potential to reach a lot of people. We share our lives, rant and rave, and have giveaways.

But there's something else we can do. We can share information and literally change lives.
A couple of years ago, I was doing that in a series of posts, but after a while I stopped. I've decided to start again; I want to use my internet home to bring important information to you from time to time. Information that will make you think, and maybe change the way you do look at things.

This is a post from March of 2009. I got so many comments from people who knew nothing about this issue, and because of my post, will refuse to take the medication I discussed. And who knows how many people read and didn't comment? To think that, in some small way, I'm making a difference with this blog, means everything to me.

So please read this post, do your own research, and let me know what you think.

I know that most of my readers are many years away from menopause.

But there's a very important issue regarding medication prescribed to many women for menopause symptoms. This drug is called Premarin. It's a shortened version of Pregnant Mares' Urine, because that's what it's made from. It's also sold under the names PremPro, PremPac and PremPhase. The production of this drug has cost the lives of over a million horses.

The issue here is the treatment of horses for the making of this drug. There is no government regulation for the treatment of these horses. They are kept in stalls & strapped to urine bags 6 months out of the year. They are kept in production, foaling every year, for eight to nine years, then sold for slaughter. A horse's normal life span is 20-25 years. The foals are sold at auction, usually for slaughter as well.

I recently spoke to a volunteer from the Horse Sanctuary near my home. She said of all the horses they have who have come from all sorts of neglect & abuse situations, the Premarin mares are the saddest cases. Some of them have lived at the Sanctuary for years, but still will not allow any human to get anywhere near them. They can only feed and water them, they can't give them any type of care that requires contact.

What we need to do is refuse to take Premarin or any other drug containing Pregnant Mares' Urine. There are many alternatives to aid in the natural life changes of menopause. Menopause is not a disease. It can be dealt with without hormone treatment (my mother is proof of that). Premarin also has risks; it's been linked to breast cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes.

I'll leave you with a few links about Premarin and Premarin Mares, so you can Educate Yourself! (or your mom, your grandma, your aunts, your friends!)

(pics below are disturbing)


Anastasia said...

I am (hopefully) a little ways away from menopause, but the information is still useful and important. Thanks.

As Cape Cod Turns said...

Ugh. That is horrible! My daughter has a horse and I cannot even imagine the people who would do that to a horse.
I like you public service announcements :)

Tara R. said...

I am one of your readers who is this ][ close to menopause. I will NOT be taking this drug.. EVER. This is horrible.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I see no problem with using your own blog to raise awareness about things that are important to you! Good job Mama!

Jenny said...

That is so unbelievable sad. I think this drug should be banned. There is no sense in treating another living being like that.

Marina said...

I still don't have to think about that, but I didn't know any of this, so really thank you for sharing this with us!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I had no idea. That is tragic. I haven't taken any of those drugs. I am a firm believer that if my ancestors lived through menopause so can I! Great idea to repost this.

My Mercurial Nature said...

Early onset menopause in our family has me already talking with my doctors about plans, meds, etc. I, for one, definitely appreciate the information. I shudder at the thought (much less pictures) of what these wonderful animals are put through.

Amy said...

(Amy's World)

I'll avoid those drugs when my time comes (which is fairly soon). I love that you brought this to everyone's attention. Do you mind if I like to this post?

When I had my hysterectomy, I had the Dr. leave me one ovary. That kept me from hitting menopause right then.

Thanks for sharing!

Amy @ Clan Carlson said...

Ok, I am educated about PREMARIN, have had friends work first hand with the farmers who keep these horses, and still own a foal that was born to a mare who was on the line. I live in Canada.

There is a lot of propaganda against PREMARIN. Don't get me wrong, there are bad farms out there, but there are far, far more GOOD farms in existance.

The farms in Canada (which were operational until 2005 in Alberta, when Wyeth ended their contacts) for the most part, were fantastic. The horses in these facilities received better care than many (perhaps most) horse breeding operations, because of the fact that they were so strictly regulated! The horses were required to be examined by a vet every 2 weeks, where they were checked for health issues, feet were checked, etc. Any mares that had any sort of injury were treated, and removed from the line if necessary. Farms that did not comply, lost their contracts.

Only the quietest mares are used on the line, and for the ~5 months that they're on the line, they receive excellent care. Their tie stalls are large enough that they can move backwards, forwards, and lay down comfortably. They are able to be social with other mares beside and across from them. Contrary to common belief, the mares are not catheterised to collect the urine, but rather have a soft rubber cup placed over their vulva to collect the urine. They are fed twice daily, and watered several times a day (water is not provided free-choice, because the mares have a tendency to splash about too much in play, and wet their bedding) but they are not restricted in water, otherwise they would not provide urine. Stalls are cleaned at least once a day... like I said, the vets go through at least every 2 weeks.

(to be con't)

Amy @ Clan Carlson said...

The mares are ONLY on the line during the coldest months (October til March), otherwise, they free range the rest of the year, out on pasture to have their foals and to be re-bred naturally. During the time on the line, the mares must also be exercised every 2 weeks, where they are turned out into pens... but during a typical prairie winter, the girls generally want back into the barn.

I worked with an organization called FoalQuest, from 2001 til 2005, and adopted 2 foals from them. One, my Percheron mare I named Mouse, came from a draft horse farm that had been breeding draft horses for 3 generation, and had to switch over to the PMU industry when the horse market tanked... they did it because they loved their horses, and wanted to be able to keep their livelyhood. Mouse's sire was a gorgeous horse, with champion bloodlines. When Wyeth pulled the contracts from Alberta in 2005, the draft horse farm shut down, and he was sold to South Carolina, where he continued working as a stallion, and became a saddle horse.

The other horse I adopted was a registered paint gelding, who had fantastic bloodlines and was a beautiful, friendly boy. I named him Stewie.

Both Mouse and Stewie were very easy horses to tame, despite never having been handled prior to me receiving them... they were born on pasture, and lived there until they were about 5 months old, at which point they were weaned and sent to their new homes.

FoalQuest not only facilitated matching up thousands of foals with new homes, but also many, many mares... some who could not return to the line because of reproductive issues, and many more that needed homes when their farms shut down in 2005. They were not wild or crazy mares, some were former saddle horses, some were horses that may have had a mild unsoundness that prevented them from heavy work... all were halterbroke - they had to be, to be on the line. Many mares stayed with the same farms late into their teens and some into their early 20's, because they produced beautiful foals.

Slaughter is an unfortunate aspect of every livestock industry... be it horse breeding, cattle, swine, chickens... There will always be some horses that end up going to the 'meat man' when they are run through auction, and there are many different reasons for it. But the PMU industry was not the only cause of it, and after synthetic hormone replacement is perfected, horses will continue to go to slaughter. It is a very sad fact.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the PMU industry, or PREMARIN... I was alerted to the issue in 2001 through an article on an SPCA bulleton board, and educated myself... I spoke to people who visited the farms first-hand, who knew the farmers, and who saw the care the horses received. I think in the case of FoalQuest, every farm provided exceptional care, and the farmers loved their horses... knew them by name, could tell you about the foals they had produced in years previous. The farm where Mouse came from sent me a wonderful letter about Mouse's dam, and about their farm... they cared about their horses' welfare.

I honestly hope the American horses who are involved with the PMU industry are kept to the same standards as the Canadian ones. I know a lot of horses have previously been labelled as "PMU mares" that have experienced horrendous abuse, that were actually never involved the with PMU industry (just as years ago PETA was circulating a video of a "PMU mare" that was being abused... except the horse was a gelding... how does that work?)... the PMU industry was closely scrutinized for many years, and that is a good thing... it keeps the industry clean of those who would blatantly abuse animals in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

I appologise that this is long-winded, but PMU mares and foals are something very near and dear to my heart.

Amy @ Clan Carlson

Working Mommy said...

I completely agree with you...menopause isn't a disease. My mom didn't take any drugs and - granted - she was a raging biotch for a few years, it went away and all was well in the world. Before all of these drugs came out, women were dealing with this other ways - it irks me that everyone thinks drugs will make it all better.


Amy @ Clan Carlson said...

I have a few links to share:

Code of Practice: The Care and Handling of Horses in PMU Operations

NAERIC Fact Sheet

Just more info to put out there. :)

Anonymous said...

WOW! Very interesting. I have worked in healthcare and even administered this med, I am sad to say that I had no idea. The companies don't usually share that info at the inservices... I will definitely remember this and pass it on to others.

Traci said...

So sad and so necessary. There are more natural ways to take care of menopause. Thank you for educating us.

Traci said...

oops I meant unnecessary.

Unknown Mami said...

That's really upsetting.