Premarin mares

Post-menopausal hell for horses

Mare with urine collection bag

For a while, after the warnings about increased rates of breast and other cancers in women who took hormone replacement therapy, the use of Premarin and/or Prempro dropped. Enough that a few of the Premarin mare rescue facilities closed down. Not so anymore. Baby-boomer women by the thousands are entering the hormone-replacement therapy market. I was once one of them, but the minute I discovered that, Premarin, the brand I took, was made from horse urine, I switched to a plant-based synthetic.

Horse urine? Seriously?
PRE (pregnant) MAR (mare) IN (urine)

As you might guess, if you've seen this blog more than once, I didn't stop taking Premarin just because it was made from horse urine. I stopped because the production of it had to be torture for the horses. It turned out to be worse than I imagined.

Premarin mare on the "pee line" is confined to a narrow stall that restricts all movement. She is fitted with a urine collection bag, and stays that way nearly full-time for six months of each and every year for as long as she is productive. She is provided plenty of food, but water intake is limited in order to concentrate her urine.

Mares in a pee-line

For those six months, she can't lie down, roll as horses love to do, or get any exercise. They are not groomed, which leaves them susceptible to sores and infections. The normal lifespan of a horse is 20 to 30 or more years. On average a Premarin mare lives 8 or 9 years.
If the mare produces urine well and can be impregnated again, she will return to the pee line. Once she is no longer productive, the mares are sent to slaughter, destine for dinner tables in Europe and Asia, often with her last foal at her side--especially if it is a colt. Only a lucky few are purchased at auction to be rescued and adopted.  

What happens to the foals of mares that return to the pee lines? A Premarin mare's foal is a 'waste product' of urine farms. "We are talking around 40,000 to 50,000 foals a year from the US and Canada. (The number would be higher, but there is a higher than normal mortality rate among these foals, usually due to exposure or starvation.) Those that survive are sent to feed lots and then to Canadian auctions that cater almost exclusively to the horse meat trade to be sent mostly to Europe and Japan."

The drug and You
by Kym Lambert

"Premarin is marketed as an "organic" or "natural" estrogen...well, yeah it's natural, if you're a pregnant mare! But mares have a multitude of estrogens that humans do not have, do not need, and can potentially be harmed by.  

The risks involved include but are not limited to increase in breast and uterine cancer, stroke and abnormal blood clotting which can lead to death, gall bladder disease, rising in blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, (and) memory loss. Personally, as a soon-to-be menopausal (possibly perimenopausal as of recently) woman those risks seem too high for me...if it were the only replacement therapy you couldn't pay me to take the stuff.  

But it isn't the only option, there are alternatives! Safer for you, for the horses, and for the environment (you think that processing all that urine is without waste?). These alternatives are "synthetic" although many are made from plant estrogens and most more closely replicate the human hormones you are replacing than Premarin can.

If you are menopausal, post-hysterectomy, or transsexual and you are on Premarin please consider contacting your doctor immediately to change your therapy. If you aren't convinced that you are swallowing horse urine (and you are not alone, a woman told me a nurse who was on Premarin had no idea how it was made, your doctor might not even know!) then crush one of your pills and sniff it. Yup, that's what it is all right! You'll smell it. Talk to your doctor, make sure s/he knows that you do not approve of the torture and death involved."

What is the most important information you should know about
(an estrogen mixture)
WARNINGS TAKEN FROM THE PREMARIN WEBSITE|223603789|0&skwid=43700003252793214
  • Estrogens increase the chance of getting cancer of the uterus.
  • Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away while you are using these products. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the uterus (womb). Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause.
  • Do not use estrogens with or without progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia.
  • Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your chance of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood clots. Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women age 65 years or older. You and your health care provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with estrogens
  • Stop taking Premarin /or Prempro. There are synthetic alternatives. "In 1990, Wyeth had gone before the FDA requesting the label to their hormone replacement drugs be changed to include it to say their product protects against heart disease. Hormone replacement therapy skeptic, Cynthia Pearson, found not only did their claims appear to be too good to be true, but also "each time there was anything negative about the drug, a new claim arose to keep it alive." In every instance, Pearson continued to be unconvinced wondering how a drug was ever approved for women lacking a randomized clinical trial. It was not until 1991, after lobbying women's groups and criticism by congresswomen about the lack of attention paid to women's health that money was found, leading to the recently halted study."
  • There are numerous horse rescue sites, specifically for Premarin mares and Premarin foals. Simply Google Premarin Mare Rescue to find one near you.
  • Forward this to friends who are on hormone replacement therapy.

Premarin mare and foal

Pony Skin Foals

While I was in Florida, I received this letter from one of my readers:

“My name is Elle, and I absolutely loved your book, the Outside of a Horse! I was wondering if you could let me know where you obtained the statistics in your Author's Note? The statistics about the number of foals born annually (and being killed to avoid the stud fee), and the deaths per every 1,000 starts are the stats I am specifically interested in. I am writing a paper on how to improve the horse racing industry, and I would like to include the appalling statistics of cruelty to help persuade readers. Thanks so much!”

The statistic—about foals being killed to avoid a stud fee—came from a very well-known, downright famous writer friend of mine. Her sister worked in the racing industry and told her about “standing foal,” the practice of deeming a newborn foal unsuitable, by racing standards, and killing it before it stands, thus avoiding the stud fee. I found my notes from that interview, but deemed them too “word of mouth” since I couldn’t re-locate the online site I used to confirm the practice. Lucky me (and you), I came across another, just as despicable.
Using a nurse mare is a common practice in the thoroughbred industry, partly because horse racing rules dictate that mares have to be bred by live cover. (Not artificially inseminated.) This has created an industry of nurse mare farms that breed mares, and replace their newborn foals with expensive, thoroughbred foals to nurse. This frees the thoroughbred mare to be shipped for re-breeding or, if she’s racing, right back to the track.

What happens to the nurse mare’s foal? They are left to die, shot or clubbed to death, or fattened up, and at age six months, can legally be sent to slaughter. (There are YouTube videos of this, if you can stomach watching.) The meat of young horses is prized in many countries, such as Japan. (Tempted to cast stones; we eat veal.)
This is just one of the rescue groups dedicated to saving as many of these ‘by-product” foals as they can.

A pony skin foal is another name for a nurse mare foal born so a mare can provide milk to a thoroughbred foal born for racing, or for show. The nurse mare industry is huge, but I couldn't find any statistics on how many foals are produced, and killed annually. A lucky few are rescued, some are sold at auction, others are killed on the spot with a bullet or a club. Whether they end up on a dinner plate in Japan, as dog food, or are killed and skinned for high-end leather products, the nurse mare industry is a disgrace.

And here’s a site with more info on nurse mares
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Pony skin shoes at ShopStyle. Shop popular brands and stores to find pony skin shoes on sale - all in one place. Create and share looks based on all your ...  


And are you proud of your genuine shell Cordovan leather couch, or in your car? Most leathers come from cows, but Cordovan comes from horses. It improves with wear and polishing, and is tough as a horse’s butt.
Do you take the Premarin brand of hormone replacement? Pregnant Mare Urine. The fate is the same for their foals, unless a filly is born. She might be permitted to live and follow her mother into the "pee line" where the hormone rich urine is collected during the last six months of pregnancy. Six months tied in a stall, standing in your own feces, with a bag and hose attached to your ureatha.
And for Elle's paper, here is the site that tracks racetracks deaths.