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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Wyeth-linked horses issue

17th January 2007

17012007_mareandfoal.jpgThousands of mares and foals from farms across North America which used to supply Wyeth Pharmaceuticals with pregnant mares' urine for hormone replacement drugs are up for adoption or face the slaughterhouse, an animal charity has warned.

The United Animal Nations Web site, at www.uan.org, has launched an adoption appeal for the estimated 17,500 mares and foals which are no longer needed by Wyeth, now that sales of its hormone replacement drugs Premarin and Prempro have tapered.

When production peaked in the mid-1990s, 10 million women were taking Premarin. But in 2002, the landmark Women's Health Initiative stopped trials when these oestrogen-based drugs were linked to strokes. Today fewer than 4 million of the 23 million women who report menopause symptoms use Premarin, according to Wyeth.

The Women's Health Initiative move slashed Wyeth's thriving U.S.$2 billion a year Premarin sales in half. By 2003, the company cut its ranch contracts from 200 to 72. Today, according to the company, only 5,000 to 7,000 mares are still in production.

Animal rescue groups say the number of PMU mares is actually much higher, about 17,500. The UAN bases its estimates on an average of 250 horses per farm, rather than the 100 that Wyeth uses.

They have also criticised the living conditions at the PMU farms, and the fact that mares are kept permanently pregnant.


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