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PMU Ranch Shut Downs!
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cowgirlj    Posted 10-15-2003 at 15:47:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Has anyone here heard about the PMU Ranches being shut down? They way I've heard it is, there is some sort of intercompany dispute, so the mother Pharmaceutical Company is shutting down most of the Ranches that provide mare urin for the manufacturing of the drug premarin. (I know, all ready a controversial issue.) My concern is what will happen to all the pregnant mares? We are talking about thousands of pregnant mares that are being displaced. There are all ready thousands of thier offspring being adopted out as available, and that is tough enough. Slaughter houses are all ready turning the Ranchers away due to overload. My understanding is these Ranchers were only given a 24 hour notice that they have been cut from the program, or have to cut back production, at an emergency meeting held last week. Without the income from the Pharmaceutical Company, the Ranchers can't afford to feed the mares over the coming winter and are losing thier incomes and livelyhoods. Most of these Ranches are in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but there are some in North Dakota too.
I am looking for as much information as I can get regarding this issue, so if anyone has some facts they can pass on, please email me. I don't want to get into, or start any political arguments, just looking for a way to help the horses.

cowgirlj    Posted 10-16-2003 at 06:45:31       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank you so much everyone for respecting my request to keep away from the political issues on this!

" I am looking for as much information as I can get regarding this issue, so if anyone has some facts they can pass on, please email me. I don't want to get into, or start any political arguments, just looking for a way to help the horses."
End Quote

For those that emailed me newspaper clippings, and articles, I appreciate your help. Thank you!

screaminghollow    Posted 10-16-2003 at 11:51:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Five years ago, I almost fell for the crap that some of the rescues were peddling. I actually made arrangements to go to Saskatchewan, and had a tentative contract to bring a tractor trailer load of these cheap draft foals back. And I'd make money selling them to the Amish. I even contacted a Canadian vet and US customs and had prepared palns to get all the shots and test results. The fellas at Naeric kindly sent me the auction reports. There weren't any cheap foals. I could buy foals cheaper here.
PS When I contacted Ryers and a few of the other rescues who were bringing back foals for the high priced adoptions, they weren't interested in sharing information. They wouldn't even identify the auctions they go to to buy these poor slaughter foals. It became apparent very fast that this was just a bleeding heart gimmick to adopt out cute foals for a high adoption fee.
I like horses, I hate flim-flam operations.
Another reason why I found out there were no such cheap prices, I talked to an Amishman here who had a relative up there. He put me in touch with his relative. If draft foals were cheap up there, the Amish would be bringing em back by the train full for their farms here.
I understand that now, with so many women going off HRT that the farms may be shutting down. As I said below, I'll take some draft mares for the right price. I can buy them by the dozen over at New Holland for $600 to $1000 each.
If Hay is so scarce up there, why are so many Canadians advertising cheap hay by the trailer load in the Lancaster Farmer? Tonnage prices are pretty good, even including shipping from way out there. Nope, too many independant factors tell me something is wrong with much of this story.

Paula    Posted 10-16-2003 at 12:28:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't konw how cheap these foals were or not but my
riding instructor is a volunteer with The Keep - that
rescues and rehomes PMU foals - and recently brought
out 15 to her barn. She kept 6 and 9 had been
sponsored by other barns. So I don't know what your
experience has been, but I feel far from being ripped off
or misinformed about these PMU foals.

I myself volunteer wit Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue
and find the work very fulfilling.


CAROL    Posted 03-21-2004 at 19:15:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't know where you are but has a bunch of belgians, some crosses and a brabant cross mare for adoption, all PG that they rescued from a slaughter yard here in Washington State (I just looked at them today in Yakima ) and they are about $750 per head, with shipping and import fees. Which seemed pretty cheap to me, we're a long way from Alberta. If you took more than one - you'd probably get a deal. They've got Perheron mares coming next week.
Check them out. CW

RichZ    Posted 10-16-2003 at 08:34:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Without getting into the politics of this situation, PMU farms do end up with foals going to meat auctions. I helped rescue one foal by funding her rescue from Sring Hill Horse Rescue in Vermont. I got my foal two years ago, she is a pure blooded Belgian draft horse. We named her Rosie, and she's very sweet, intelligent and just a joy to have.

If you want to help this situation or want to adopt a PMU foal, Spring Hill's website is:

Check out their website, it also provides info on the PMU situation. They saved 92 foals from the meat auction this year. Next year, I hope to be one of their volunteers to help them pick up the foals from Canada, where most of the PMU farms are.

cowgirlj    Posted 10-16-2003 at 08:43:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank you RichZ. The problem right now with the current situation is the slaughter houses are not taking in any more. Ranchers are being turned away due to overload. What will happen now to these mares and foals? I've heard hay is scarce due to draught, or is outragiously priced. I would imagine most of the Ranchers are trying to bail out as quick as they can.
I thank anyone for any information I can get. Just doing the research before I decide how I can help.

GOOD!    Posted 10-16-2003 at 05:21:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I hope you're right about the ranches being shut down.
Too bad about the short notice and unfortunately if this
is the case many of those mares would end up in the
slaughter house. BUT then the nightmare will end! Its
better than these places sending all those foals every
year to slaughter. My riding instructor does foal rescue
from these PMU ranches. Statistically only about .1%
of those foals produced end up in good places instead
of in cans of dog food or on plates in Europe.

I hope you're right.

Bandit    Posted 10-16-2003 at 06:30:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
What wrong with horse meat?
It's no differnt than eating a cow or a pig.
We have horses at home, we breed them and use them to herd and cut for the neighbor sometimes.
If the owner want to sell them for meat whats the problem? Korea, Vietnam, France, Serbia eat a lot of horse meat.

Veneta Tichy    Posted 07-23-2006 at 11:14:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
What's wrong with horse meat? What's wrong with dog meat? What's wrong with cat meat? Jeffery Dahmer and a few people throughout the past, enjoyed human meat. Is there something wrong with these other meats? Including the human meat?

Horses throughout history have served mankind graciously. They continue to do so today. It's the same reason we don't kill dolphins. They serve us well too. Horses have been found to be better service animals than dogs. Do we slaughter dogs?

Paula    Posted 10-16-2003 at 06:42:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
That's not my issue. You are right, some eat cow and
ride horse, some eat horse and eat cow - to each his
own. I object to the factory farming of mares,
continually impregnated so their urine can be collected
by catheter as they're kept on the line.

The resultant foals are just a by product and are
treated like trash - sent to slaughter and the mares are
again impregnated.
All to produce horse hormones to keep western women
from getting hot flashes, vaginal dryness and brittle
bones. A hormone therapy that has been recently
proved to increase the incidence of cancer in post
menapausal women BTW. And its not the only option
for HRT, there are other hormone sources that are
apparently easier on the body and more effective. And
let's not even talk about how our diets increase our risk
of hormone cancers, osteoporosis and post
menopausal symptoms anyway.

JMO of course.

Allan Webb    Posted 10-16-2003 at 20:00:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't know where you got your information about the operation of PMU lines--but it doesn't square with mine. I live in Manitoba, breed registered Clydesdales, have visited several PMU farms, rented out mares to one line for several years, bought and sold horses with PMU operators, and showed draft horses against many.

No mares are kept "continually pregnant". They are bred in June and July each year, are on the line from early October to mid March, and foal outside in May or June. Every horse must receive regular exercise and is inspected by an independent vet at least twice during the collection season. The company's field inspector comes at random intervals about every two weeks. Contrary to rumour, water intake is not limited--if it was, the horses would soon die during the collection season.

The code of practice for keeping mares, the standards for barns and the management and feeding of the animals runs to about 100 pages. Violate the code and you can and sometimes do lose your contract.

Thirty years ago, foals were indeed an unwanted by-product which some producers did not value or treat well. That has not been true for two generations--farmers, not horses. Any foal sells for at least fifty cents a pound at the fall auctions. Needless to say, better ones sell for more. I know, because I have bought and sold some.

Finally, NO mare has ever had urine collected using a catheter. The equipment which has always been used is a rubber cup shaped something like a bed pan which is held in place with surgical rubber tubing which runs over pulleys on the ceiling the mare can lie down.

I hate to knock anyone's opinion here, but if you believe what you have written in this post you are very seriously misinformed. PMU mares in Manitoba live better than many of the world's children, including some in the USA. As someone pointed out, the NAERIC site and FoalQuest both have information you should know. AW

Jessica    Posted 11-29-2004 at 12:01:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i am doing a report on pmu horse's in my animal care class and i would love to have some information to put in it from somone who actually knows for sure and has visited pmu ranches. i have a few questions to ask and anyone who can answer truthfully please write me back.
1.) Why ( if ) the young of pmu mares are sent to slaughter soon after birth and when new horses are brought in to pee lines why dont they just raise the offspring and use them.
2.) who started the drug premarin and pmu farms and why if there were already drugs for menopause and hysterectomies on the market.
3.) what truly happens to the offspring of the pmu mares & the pmu mares when they can no longer produce offspring?
4.) how are the horses taken care of and what conditions are they kept in?
5.) what is the device harnashed to the horses made of and what downsides does this device have?
6.) what is done to the urine after it is collected and where is it sent?
7.) what is a pmu ranchers responsiblities to the horses?
8.) what laws are protecting these horses?
9.) What would happen to a pmu ranch if they broke these laws?
10.) what is the truth and the opinion of pmu ranches??????????? if you could please email me with the answers that would help alot i dont want to put the wrong information on my report.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

slim    Posted 10-17-2003 at 05:52:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thank you very much for an informed opinion. I have been following this thread but am very uninformed about the topic.

However, in my work I deal very frequently with organizations that have vowed to preserve and protect our environment. I find that very often preserving and protecting our environment is secondary to two things. Power and money. The few in charge use the environment as a platform for personal power and to generate large salaries. The few are followed by the many who are well intended, well meaning who are truly concerned about the environment but are mislead by the few's pseudo-science and outright falsehoods.

I'm not talking about just the fanatics like PETA or Greenpeace. I'm also talking about some of the more "mainstream" organizations.

What I really want to say is don't just rely on the information put out by the organization that you are following. Look at all the information you can find put out by all "sides" of an issue. Then use your God-given brain to make an informed decision based on your own reasons not just because some organization says this is the "ethical" thing to do.

Off my soapbox now.


Paula    Posted 10-17-2003 at 05:28:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Sorry I wasn't technically correct in choosing cup over
catheter and implied by continually pregnant that the
mares have more than one foal a year. It is
still a terrible business, wasteful and ultimately - if the
medical studies prove true - useless.

Heck even the HSUS has ads against it. You know, the
Humane Society for the United States?


Ron/PA    Posted 10-16-2003 at 04:50:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Now I know I'm being a bit insensitive, but if they quit manufacturing premarin,, there are gonna be a whole lot of husbands and kids, catchin h@ll from a whole bunch of grumpy wimmens!

screaminghollow    Posted 10-15-2003 at 23:48:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
That PMU mare/foal thing is a bunch of BS whipped up by the directors of the "not for profit" animal rescues so they can spend 90% of donations on Director's salaries. I've actually talked to some of the farmers up in the north, they bred horses for valuable foals as well, not just to get the urine.
As to the drug company thing, if it's true, I feel for the farmers. By and large, their horses are too valuable for the slaughter markets. Granted, if they have to cut their herd in Manitoba, it's a bit far from buyers. Heck if they got draft horses, and the Amish can get them for slaughter prices, they'd already be truckin' em here to Lancaster.
I've been to the horse sale in New Holland,every Monday am., rescued a horse there myself. 20 yr old thorobred mare, all skin and bones, otherwise would have been alpo by now. Paid $175 for her and she has gained 350 to 400 pounds just on grass, and my wife rides her. Might even breed her this coming year. Yes, if you go there will be stuff that tugs at your heart. Yes there are scared four month old foals there, separated from their mothers and never halter trained or acclimated to humans. Of course they will be wild. Old horses, young horses and some with bumps and scrapes. I've seen such foals bring $50.00, mostly because they are too small for riding or work. Two years ago, I saw a six month old mule, only about nine hands and wild as can be, sell for $25.00. But who wants such a thing? Why would someone even breed such a thing? It was already destined for dog food at the moment of conception.
I feel sorry for the PMU farmers who didn't see it coming. With all the adverse publicity for HRT, you'd think they woulda seen the end coming. If any of em want to get rid of some pregnant draft mares, I can probably take some. But not for the $900 adopt fee Ryer's wants for the alleged "PMU" foals.

paynts    Posted 10-16-2003 at 11:19:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
You are correct-some of these foals are very well bred. Some of the line mares are riders.
Not all these horses are garbage and far more than 1% have been sold annually and not for meat-many at top notch breed sales.
NAERIC has a program of match money for PMU horses that show. win a purse and they kick in. I know several nice show horses that are enrolled.

RichZ    Posted 10-16-2003 at 09:06:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't want to get into a debate with you, Screaminghollow, but you're wrong. The Horse Rescue group that I'm connected to, Spring Hill Horse Rescue, have no salaried members. Even the director takes no salary at all. All money collected goes to taking care of the horses and saving more horses from slaughter.

In our culture, some animals like dogs, cats and horses are considered to be pets, companion animals or working animals, and not food. I'd rather spend time with horses, than most people I know, and many people, like me, feel that saving horses from slaughter is a worthy effort.

screaminghollow    Posted 10-16-2003 at 11:20:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sorry bud, but round here they are all in it for the big $$$$$. Local adoption wants anywhere from $900 to $5,000 to "adopt" a horse, Thats major BULL.
I also knew of a lady that had a nice 22 yr old stallion that had a touch of navicular from barrel racing. When I heard she was looking to give it away, I called, figuring feeding bute everyday was a cheap price for being able to breed the horse. She had already given it to another local adoption service. I went to visit them about the horse. They had the horse two days and wanted $3,500 adoption fee. I could have bought the horse a year earlier for less. BS, BS, BS.
You want to do the animals a service, find homes for those little mules, and foals that go for $25 to $100 up at New Holland, PA. Instead of selling the public a bunch of crap about $750.00 PMU foals. If the foals are going for dirt cheap slaughter prices, (ie $25 to $100) up in Manitoba, whose rakin' in the rest of the $ ????? Set the alarm and the perculator! TMO

RichZ    Posted 10-16-2003 at 11:33:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Screaming, don't paint so broad of a picture. At Spring Hill Rescue, the adoption fee is $550 for each foal, or $575 for the draft foals. They don't get the foals for $100 either. And that cost is what they have into each foal, including cost of foal, transportation from Canada, vet checks (coggins, etc.), and any other costs that they incur.

I was pretty happy to get a full blooded Belgian for $575. Where else can you get a deal like that, and save a horse from the meat market. Maybe a group near you is in it for the money, but Spring Hill isn't, and I'm sure there are other legit rescue groups, too.

You ain't got no cause to scream on this one. OK?

screaminghollow    Posted 10-16-2003 at 12:33:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Rich Z congratualations on your rescue buying the horses directly from a PMU farmer and cutting out the auction house. But I checked the web site. If Sprinhill is buying directly from a PMU farmer, why do the costs include"BROKER FEES"? (That's what your rescue's web site says) Who is the broker, what fees and how much. More importantly, if you buy direct from the farm, WHY? I smell someone skimming some $$$ somewhere.

screaminghollow    Posted 10-16-2003 at 12:24:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
Rich Z Don't know where Spring Hill is, but I know what costs are involved. It is them other costs involved you mentioned that I worry about. Like the RN at Ipswich Horse rescue who flies out to buy the foals, has her pictures taken for the horse mags and her luxury accomodations paid by the rescue, which she founded. I still say BS.
You want to save horses, drag your truck down to New Holland some Monday morning.
5 yr ago, my transportation costs, with stops for rest feed and water for a tractor trailer load of 40 foals and vet charges would have been about $64.00 per animal. From Sask. to central PA. I still don't believe the rescue folks. Last week I took in a four yr old thorobred, bred to a paint. Owner just signed her over. Right well trained horse. She'd have ended up as alpo. A rescue, doesn't make money on adoptions unless it is a money making proposition. You may volunteer there, but don't you believe all the BS. Always process information in light of what you already know. If these foals are going for slaughter price, why is the adoption fee so much?What your saying just doesn't make sense.
If some naeric guy tells me there's a bunch of mares and foals for a couple hundred each, I'll be there tomorrow. with a contract with a hauler.
BTW, glad you like your belgian, easiest of the breeds to train and break. I love drafts. Easier for just about everything but their feet. I'm not really trying to offend any one, I just been there, done that, took a look and saw the light. It is an emotional issue. Folks understandably get pulled by the heart strings. just keep the connection to the brain. You can get living lawn lawn ornaments much cheaper without the services of an organized rescue.

RichZ    Posted 10-16-2003 at 12:38:24       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Screaming, I know you mean well, I certainly don't take offense. Spring Hill Rescue is in Vermont. It takes money to keep these operations going, buying horses, transporting them, feeding them, vet care, farriers, etc. I don't think $550 - $575 for these foals is out of line. Spring Hill buys them off the PMU farms, and they don't go as cheap as you think. Any extra money they get goes into saving more horses. They also buy horses from the meat auctions.

I got my two quarter horses from them. They were camp horses from a children's camp that went out of business, and they were starved. I saw them when they first came in to Spring Hill, and they were skin and bones. They spent a lot on vet and farrier fees for them. I adopted them for their cost, and now, a year later, after a great deal of TLC, they're both in wonderful shape, and they're both well trained, gentle and friendly.

If not for Spring Hill, they'd be dog food. Now they're my pals. I know at least some of the horse rescues do good work. I'm not saying what you say is not true, but Spring Hill is legit, and I'm beholding to them for saving three of my best pals.

Paula    Posted 10-16-2003 at 12:54:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I can only speak from my experience with dog rescue
(Rhodesian Ridgebacks).

1. All dogs have an adoption fee. For use its about

2. You can definitely get a cheaper dog from the pound
(about $60.00 for a sterilized dog), and with dilligence
you might even find a ridgeback.

3. However, we cover the costs of evaluating, shipping,
vetting and sometimes kennelling (when we run out of
foster space) EVERY dog that comes to us. Some
animals have huge vet bills and some are a breeze.
Does that mean we charge you $50.00 because your
dog was cheap and charge someone else $1000.00 for
the vetting of their dog? Not at all. With a blanket fee
we generally get close to covering all the expenses
generated by these dogs.

Still a lot of stuff comes out of volunteer's pockets. I can
only assume that the same thing happens with horse
rescue. So for instance, Days End Horse Rescue might
charge you $2000.00 for your hay burner. If its too high
and you know you can get a deal then go somewhere

Frankly, the people who come to dog rescue informed
are making the decision to get a dog from us (or in the
case of horse rescue an horse from them) with more
intent than the bottom line. We of course get those
who think since they're doing us a favor of relieving us
of an unwanted dog they should get it for free. And
those who think that dog rescue is a cheap source of
backyard breeding stock.

JMO, and I apologize for sounding defensive, but I take
umbrage at people seeming to tar rescue with one
great brush. There are good and bad organizations in
every part of life. Let's not malign the whole process
and throw the baby out with the bathwater by coloring
people's perceptions such a noble cause as animal


LH    Posted 10-15-2003 at 18:34:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
My bet is the horses will be dealt with the way the foals from the mares have been for years. They will likely be sold to slaughter buyers for either dogfood, or the european meat market. A few years back I bought two belgian foals that came from one of those farms. Since they never received the mares colostrum they had all kinds of health problems. I learned they only kept and allowed the mares to nurse the phillies, all the colts were simply pulled off to get the mares back into production as quickly as possible. Very sad even if it is a neccesary business

I'm betting...    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:11:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
You already know more about this issue than almost anyone else here...

You lost me after you said 'PMU'...

Salmoneye, Who Now Has To Go To Google And Look Up Stuff...

cowgirlj    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:34:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Sorry Salmoneye, PMU = Pregnant Mare Urin used in the manufacturing of "Premarin" a hormonal replacement drug, used in treating menopausal women.
Here's a link to the NAERIC control board for these Ranches. You might find more info there.

Donna from Mo    Posted 10-15-2003 at 16:31:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
PMU = pregnant mare's urine. It's what they use for premarin (pre = pregnant, mar = mare, in = urine. Estrogin, you know, to ease the effects of menopause in women.

deadcarp    Posted 10-15-2003 at 17:11:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
if estrogen is a norwegian guys' drug, please don't tell me what it stands for okay? (already conjuring up horrid visions:) ya, ay tank so

paynts    Posted 10-15-2003 at 21:19:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
About the most balanced view you can find online is here:
It is a tragig thing but the company has offered a severence package and is working to help ship many horses here from Canada.
Fact is a lot of horses will be slaughtered. 30% are being shut down now and more to come in the future.
It is not the first or last business that has gone under. it is a painful thing for the PMU ranchers. A lot of folks have lost their livelihoods with no severence though.
There is a new source of synthetic hormone in the FDA approval process now. I think it was something that everyone knew would come.
That company has been railed at for years to shut down the collection farms. I don't know the answers-I feel badly for the horses that will be slaughtered-but horses in Canada are routinely slaughtered and the drug company didn't start that trend.
Easy to put it all on the drug company but there are so many things to consider in the sorry situation.
Sometimes all you can do is to tend to your own garden. None of my horses that had to be put down-were sent to slaughter. nor will I ever do that. But some folks consider that a very viable option for their elder or ill horses.
The lists should be up soon on many sites about this major sell off...the estimates run from 20,000 to 30,000 head.

cowgirlj    Posted 10-16-2003 at 06:48:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank you for the link Paynts.

paynts    Posted 10-16-2003 at 07:42:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
You are welcome. I am so ignorant on most farm topics here-that I rarely have ANY info for anyone. But I enjoy reading it... :O)

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