- What would you do if your doctor told you to swallow
horse urine every day for the rest of your life? You'd think he lost his
marbles, right? But what if your doctor handed you a bottle of yellow pills
called "Premarin," manufactured by Wyeth-Ayest Pharmaceuticals,
and told you they'd "cure" menopause? If you're like 8 million
other women, you'd take them.
- Until one day you discover what's really in them. The
name Premarin is a contraction of "pregnant mare urine." Then
you find out there are safe, effective alternatives. Now you're ready to
toss those pills out the window.
- As disgusting as Premarin may sound to you, to horses,
it's a living nightmare. In the U.S. and Canada, urine is collected from
75,000 pregnant mares to make the estrogen replacement drug.
- Undercover investigators from People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA) documented conditions on typical pregnant mare
urine-or PMU-farms. Mares spend six months of their pregnancies every year
confined to stalls so small they can't even turn around. They are tied
up and fitted with rubber devices to collect their urine. To keep their
urine concentrated, they are denied free access to water.
- Any sort of normal movement is impossible for the mares
on this chain gang. They can move forward a step or backward a step. Nothing
more. They can't reach back to bite at an itch. They can't drop their heads
into the normal posture of sleep. They can't lie down and have a really
good roll - something horses love to do occasionally.
- When PETA investigators bought Miranda, a Premarin mare,
she was called "Blindie," a name given to her by the PMU farmers
who allowed her to go lame and blind in one eye from an untreated infection,
then prepared to ship her off to slaughter.
- Miranda was pathetic during her first weeks of freedom.
Heavy with pregnancy, she balanced precariously on legs crippled by six
months of standing on a rock-hard concrete floor. After daily physical
therapy sessions, Miranda's legs improved-all but one, which has permanent
nerve damage. Then she gave birth to a beautiful filly we called Aspen.
Miranda and Aspen now live happily at a sanctuary.
- Other mares and their babies aren't so lucky. Ten of
thousands of foals born on PMU farms every year are sold at auction in
Winnipeg when just a few months old. Ninety-five percent of them go to
feedlots in the U.S. and Canada to be fattened for slaughter. After they
are killed, their flesh will be turned into dog food ("meat by-products")
or sold to Europe, where horse meat is eaten by people.
- Though Premarin is the most widely prescribed drug in
the world, many women are choosing synthetic estrogen replacement drugs,
which are effective, readily available and manufactured without urine or
animal abuse, or foregoing any kind of estrogen therapy in favor of a more
natural approach to menopause.
- But whatever course of action is chosen, women should
know what's in the drugs they are prescribed. ___
- Alisa Mullins and Kathy Guillermo write for People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) 501 Front St Norfolk, VA 23510