Estrogen Therapy - Where
Does The Estrogen Come From?
By Alisa Mullins and Kathy Guillermo

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


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