Pharmaceutical giant Wyeth puts thousands of horses at risk of slaughter with announcement of massive PMU farm closures
Houston, Texas (Apr. 27, 2005) – Wyeth Pharmaceuticals sounds a death knell for thousands of horses with its recent announcement that it is significantly reducing production of its hormone replacement therapy drugs for women made from pregnant mare’s urine.
Wyeth just announced its closure of 19 pregnant mare urine farms in Alberta, Canada and approximately 30 more ranches in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota. This will displace around 30,000 mares altogether, almost all of which are pregnant.
During the last layoff due to the downsizing of the industry due to rapidly declining demand for Wyeth’s Premarin® family of drugs, nearly 15,000 horses were put “out of work.” Although some were bought or found homes, a high percentage of the mares and foals went to slaughter.
In the United States, much is being made about the so-called “unwanted horse” in reaction to pending legislation in Congress that would ban horse slaughter. This culminated in a summit meeting recently hosted in Washington DC by the American Association of Equine Practitioners to discuss what should be done with America’s surplus horses.
Pharmaceutical giant Wyeth, who has earned billions of dollars since the 1950s from the sale of its Premarin® family of drugs made from pregnant mare’s urine, is once again burdening the equine communities in both the U.S. and Canada with thousands of its redundant horses. However, the Unwanted Horse Summit did not address the problem of the thousands of horses unwanted by Wyeth.
“It would be highly beneficial if the AAEP would place issues like the sudden dumping of thousands of horses no longer wanted by Wyeth on the Summit meeting’s agenda,” comments Vivian Farrell, President of the Int’l Fund for Horses. “Failing to address situations like these takes away credibility from these sorts of proceedings.”
Where will Wyeth’s unwanted horses go?
As in the past, it will be publicly supported horse rescues and shelters who will have to intervene if the majority of these horses are not to end up in the horse slaughter plants of the U.S. and Canada, and subsequently on someone’s dinner plate in Europe and Japan.
“We are calling on Wyeth to come up with a workable plan and the capital to provide for the care and maintenance of its mares and foals until appropriate homes are found for them,” states Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. “It is high time Wyeth took real responsibility for theses horses and provided the much needed support to those of us willing to do this work.”