Monday, September 17, 2012

105 How Many More?

What does a home made brand with a number 105, on a horse's hip mean? 

This is what I think from my experience with this type of mare over the years. It means there were many more horses than her at the Premarin farm she was living at. I shouldn't really use the word living, I should stay existing at. An average Premarin farm holds 200 mares and has 2 workers. The mares stand in straight small holding areas for over  6 months a years or more, unable to move forward, backwards or lay down. They also are hooked to a catheter so the urine is collected continually. They are given 1/3 of a normal water intake so the mares are constantly thirsty. This make the urine mare concentrated.  Did I mention these mares are pregnant? Yes, Premarin is PREgnant-MARe-urINe. PREMARIN! 
No way for a horse to exist 24 hours a day...and pregnant.( from

This drug has been used for woman with menopause symptoms since the late 1940's but it was never tested until the early 2000. In 2002, a landmark Women's Health Initiative  (WHI) study provided compelling evidence the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is linked to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and other diseases including heart disease. After this study came out, the Premarin use in the USA dramatically decreased and the market was flooded with these mares and foals. 

This article was in the AJC 1/2/2004

Drug maker's cutbacks send 20,000 horses to auction block
Bill Hendrick - Staff
Friday, January 2, 2004

A decision made in a sterile, glass-and-chrome pharmaceutical
laboratory in New Jersey might affect horse barns in Georgia and other states.

Pills produced by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals that use chemicals
extracted from the urine of pregnant horses to ease menopausal symptoms for
women have come under fire in recent months, causing the market to crash.

The drop in sales has forced the company to decide to cut its
horse herds, leaving at least 20,000 horses at risk for slaughter.

An auction of hundreds of these horses is being held Saturday in
Roanoke, Ala., just across the Georgia border, 26 miles from LaGrange.

In July, federal researchers said hormone replacement therapy, or
HRT, was potentially harmful to tens of millions of post-menopausal women who
had taken the drugs.

And later, a study of Prempro, another drug that uses ingredients
from horse urine, was halted earlier than scheduled. Researchers found the
chemicals seemed to increase risks of breast cancer, stroke and blood clots ---
outweighing the benefits of lessening colon cancer and osteoporosis.

The result: A significant decline in orders for Prempro, from 3.4
million to 1 million, and a crash in sales of Premarin, a top-selling HRT drug,
from 6 million to 3.5 million, said Natalie De Vane, spokeswoman for Wyeth
Pharmaceuticals of Madison, N.J.

The company's sales of HRT products dropped by 33 percent, to $1.1
billion, in the first three quarters of 2003.

In response, the company has fired some of its horse ranchers.
Wyeth used to contract with 400 ranches in Canada and North Dakota, but within
the past month, it has cut that number by 25 percent.

That leaves a national glut of horses for sale --- not nags, but
healthy animals whose owners "milked" them for urine.

Farmers are trying to sell the excess female horses, called mares,
and their babies, called foals, because it costs too much to feed and graze

De Vane said the company is trying to help the ranchers find "good
homes" for these horses. And equestrian experts say most of the animals are
strong and suitable for adoption.

Quarter horses are the most common breed found on Wyeth's ranches.
The next most popular, Percherons and Belgians, are said to be valued for their
gentle dispositions. Most of the horses up for auction are between 3 and 8 years

Even so, horse activists say the reality is most of those horses
are not going to find homes, and are instead likely to be slaughtered.

The Humane Society of the United States said that "equine
sanctuaries and rescue group facilities are already filled to capacity" and
can't absorb an influx of thousands of horses. "Most of them will inevitably end
up at slaughterhouses," according to a statement released this week.

Cheryl Flanagan, who runs a group called Save the Horses in
Cumming (save, and Shana Wingate, who heads Just in Time Equine
Rescue in Douglasville (groups.msn .com/wingatefarms), are concerned that if
horse lovers don't show up at the auction Saturday in Alabama, most of the
animals will end up dead.

The women say they are planning to buy some of the horses and put
them up for adoption.

Both women operate nonprofit groups aimed at saving horses from
early deaths and are part of a network of similar organizations nationwide.

But Don Green, who is running the auction and is owner of Roanoke
Stockyards, does not believe the adult horses are in danger.

"I don't think one will go to slaughter. They are well-bred. Some
will be bought to ride," he said. However, Green added: "I don't think you'd
want these for a pet, or a child. You're not going to find any Seabiscuit."

He expects 400 or so horses will be sold for prices between $500
and $1,250.

Green does acknowledge that the foals are at high risk because
they are not immediately useful to riders or ranchers.

The controversy could also stretch across the ocean, to the china
plates of European restaurants, where horse meat is served.

Europeans have been buying more horse meat since mad cow disease
was discovered two weeks ago in the United States, Flanagan and Wingate said.

We managed to get publicity on CNN, ABC and CBS, too. Every horse at that auction was bought by a caring person. There are usually about 40 people attending the auction but it was over filled with about 350 people. They even had to put a TV outside so people could see. Horses went for $750 - $3500. The auctioneer was from TX and he told me earlier in the week that he planned on taking most of the mares to TX, I am sure for meat. There was a full running horse slaughter plant near him. That motivated me to do even more. 

Some of the foals we cared for until they were released. 
The market was also flooded with PMU foals. We took in 26 youngsters in June of 2004 to help another rescue, AC4H. The foals were coming from a PMU farm in North Dakota en route to Florida.   Over stuffed in a trailer, stressed from the ride, they all had the Strangles virus. They stayed for over 4 months in a quarantined area under the supervision of GDA. 

Now Back To Destiny!
Sandy giving Destiny some loving.

She was saved more than once. She was saved from a PMU farm sometime in her life. She ended up as a Craigslist post. There may have been a few years in between that were good or bad. 

 A family wanted an older safe horse for their grandchild. They saw the Craigslist ad and went to meet #105. She wasn't at all what they expected. She was big but very underweight and a bit strong to handle. Surely not what the grandchild could handle at all. The owner assured them there was someone coming who wanted a plow horse. She could go to work and earn her keep.  They couldn't turn their back on her though so they took her home. They called SaveTheHorses looking for help. I picked her up Saturday and she already has some cheerleaders! She needs a special diet to gain some weight and lots of love which she has no trouble getting here at the rescue farm. I did bring a sweet older mare, Caraway,  to the people who took in Destiny. The grand daughter may fall in love with Caraway or may want Destiny back when she's healthier. We just want Destiny safe and loved. 

Are horses born with a destiny? Are they destined to be slaughtered? To be someone's loving pet? To become a work animal without love?  I am afraid their lives are ruled by chance. She is a lucky one saved by a kindhearted person who couldn't walk away from her. Can we change the destiny of horses? Yes, we can. Together we can change the destiny of the horses we come in contact with and support. 

If you can't adopt, Foster.
If you can't foster, Donate.
If you can't donate, Volunteer. 
If you can't volunteer, educate everyone about the 'destiny' of horses and how it can go wrong without caring , compassionate humans like you helping in some way!
Thank you for all you do! 



Sue said...

This post was very informative, Cheryl. Thank you for listing options for people who are unable to adopt a horse of their own. There is so much to be done, and everyone can do SOMETHING. By the way, there are synthetic hormone options available. I had to ask my doctor to provide it to me years ago when I entered into menopause. Please let other women know there IS an alternative to PREMARIN.

Cindy White said...

I met her tonight and I am in love. My heart ached as I looked into her eyes and wondered what she endured in the past.... I don't understand how people can do the things they do to animals. As I was looking into her eyes tonight, I assured her that it was only good from here on.

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