Part 2 of a Special Report by Jane Allin
There are those that continue to promote and defend the atrocities associated with the PMU industry — those who profit from the exploitation of both women and horses alike.
Enter the king of the horse pee industry – Norman Luba – Executive Director of NAERIC (North American Equine Ranching Council) a non-profit association involved in the collection of pregnant mare’s urine (PMU). In a letter addressed to the Concord Monitor (Concord NH) Luba carries on about “Unfair charges against mare urine industry”.
- “Experts from American Association of Equine Practitioners, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and International League for the Protection of Horses reviewed PMU ranches during collection season to observe the horses’ health and welfare. Per their consensus report, “Based on our inspections, the allegations of inhumane treatment of horses involved in PMU ranching are unfounded.” (1)
Well let’s see. Where do we begin?
A recent Post in Tuesday’s Horse’ “Downright cruel says breast cancer sufferer about Prempro, Pfizer” (2) re-iterates the plight of the mares and their foals. We will not be tricked, with Luba’s insipid drivel, into believing this industry is above board in its treatment of the horses – mares tethered to urine collection bags for much of their 11 month pregnancy, confined to tiny stalls unable to turn around and re-impregnated year after year until they are spent and sent to the slaughterhouse. And then there are the foals – the innocent by-products, many of which see the same fate as the spent mares.
Besides, the jury delivering this verdict seems somewhat biased.
- NAERIC — pro-slaughter
- American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) – pro-slaughter
- International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) – pro-slaughter
- Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) – pro-slaughter
How convenient — a group of “slaughterphiles” in agreement.
And that’s just a start. There has long been speculation about the connection between the AQHA (also pro-slaughter), the PMU industry and their promotion of horse slaughter.
- “We know that PMU breeders worked out a deal with the AQHA to register the foals that are produced as a result of the PMU industry (usually a cross between a Quarter Horse and a Draft). The AQHA profited by registering more horses and the PMU industry could profit by selling these foals for more money to individuals and introduce a preferred breed for the slaughter industry.” (3)
What’s more is that Pfizer – the company with the decisive vested interest in the PMU industry – has always been at the centre of the slaughter debate through its continued sponsorship of pro-slaughter organizations. Probably the most incriminating, yet irrefutably lucrative, of Pfizer’s strategies was its alliance with the undeniably pro-slaughter American Horse Council (AHC) in June of 2010. A powerful trade organization in Washington, DC representing the horse industry, the AHC lobbies before Congress and Federal Agencies to champion all aspects of the equine industry, including the “unwanted horse” dilemma and ultimately to promote their slaughter manifesto, albeit veiled in manipulative rhetoric.
What also came with this pact was The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC), a broad alliance of equine organizations that joined together under the AHC in 2006 and now operates under its auspices. Not surprisingly NAERIC is a member of the UHC.
- “The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety, and responsible care and disposition of these horses.” (4)
Truth be told, the UHC was created in 2005 in response to the ever growing movement in the US that would see the horse slaughter plants close in 2007. Founders of the UHC cleverly coined the term “unwanted horse” as a devious contrivance to convince the public there are no viable alternatives to slaughter — control the terminology, control the outcome. In fact there are “excess” horses not “unwanted” horses as a direct result of over-breeding and the multi-million dollar commercial horse meat industry.
- “Under the umbrella of the AHC and its affiliates Pfizer now benefits with the support of the most powerful equine organizations in North America. Although this will not remove the stigma of PMU farming and the cast-off foals of the industry, it nonetheless leverages their position in terms of horse slaughter and the ‘unwanted horse’ – a “humane” alternative by their standards.” (5)
So, there is a lot more to the PMU industry than Luba alludes to. With its ties to Big Pharma and the slaughter industry – the hidden agenda – how can anyone condone such a statement that dismisses the allegations of inhumane treatment of the PMU horses? It’s not just the dreadful conditions the mares are subject to, none of which is remotely “normal” for a horse of any kind, it’s the fact that these innocent mares and their foals are considered disposable items routinely sent to slaughter when their usefulness subsides.
In conclusion Luba advises us all to be more vigilant in passing judgment against the PMU industry and the products of its loins — the Premarin® family of carcinogens:
- “Educate your readers about this unique segment of the equine industry with facts, not falsehoods. A woman’s health care decision should be between her and her health care practitioner. Animal activists are not experts on health care or the PMU industry.” (6)
Just more drivel to defend his position. Sadly for Luba the façade is no longer working to his favor or to those involved in this vile industry – if in fact it ever did. Perhaps in the future Luba won’t need to resort to penning letters to the editor.
Gradual downsizing of the North American PMU ranches began shortly after the damning Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) results were released and now stand at approximately 22 farms with an estimated total of 800 to 900 mares after the shuttering of a farm in North Dakota in 2012.
And now with confirmation that PMU farms have been in operation for close to ten years in China and other parts of the world, Luba may not have to worry much longer about the stigma attached to the PMU industry — at least not here in North America. (7)
It is only a matter of time that this loathsome industry is shuttered here in North America. Read it and weep Norm. Your empire is crumbling. May it land with a resounding thud!
Read PART 1 of this Special Report by JANE ALLIN, “Aprela® — the making of a new pregnant mare’s urine drug“, Thursday, Sept 26, 2013.
© Int’l Fund for Horses
What is a PMU horse? Mares are kept pregnant cycle after cycle and “milked” for their estrogen rich urine to make drugs like Premarin® and Aprela®.
Millions of foals over the decades have been cast off by this industry, and sent to slaughter auctions. Many mares have met a similar fate when they could no longer get pregnant. But that is just the beginning of the story of this cycle of abuse and death.