From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1999:

PMU mares & foals

Touring western Canada during 1998-1999 to assess recent changes in the pregnant mares’ urine industry, Enzo Giobe and Staci Wilson of the International Generic Horse Association/HorseAid reported on May 22 that the number of active accredited PMU farms has dropped from 553 to 439, and that the number of foals they sell to slaughter each year has fallen from 75,000 to between 37,000 and 43,000, depending on how many foals are used for other purposes.

PMU is the source stock for the Wyeth-Ayrst estrogen drug Premarin. As world demand for estrogen supplements is up, Giobe and Wilson link the decline of PMU production partly to the advent of rival products made from soy, yams, and other non-animal estrogen sources, and partly to growing awareness of how PMU-producing mares and their foals are treated. Premarin has been made since 1942, but the industry was first extensively exposed by A N I M A L PEOPLE in early 1993, based on research by Tom Hughes of the Canadian Farm Animal Concerns Trust in 1991-1992.

Giobe and Wilson also noted that, “A very profitable market has recently evolved in selling ‘PMU foals’ to U.S. rescue groups. It is unclear at this point if all the foals represented as such are actually from PMU farms. Either way, this market adds another profit avenue to the PMU operations. It’s supply-and-demand: more bidders mean higher prices and more revenue.”

The complete IGHA/HorseAid report is at >>http://www.premarin.org<<.

Wild burros

“No wild burros will be killed by National Park Service rangers at Death Valley National Park, California, for another year,” Gene and Diana Chontos of Wild Burro Rescue announced in May. “The Park Service continues their policy of total removal of all wild burros from NPS land, and this year we had to rescue 87 condemned wild burros, four times as many as in previous years, to keep the shooting suspended. No wild burros have been shot in Death Valley,” they added, “since 1994, when we began annual live capture/rescues. Earlier, from 1987 through 1994, Park Service rangers shot more than 400 wild burros.” Most of this year’s rescuees were turned over to other animal rescue groups for care or placement, but Diana Chontos, who coordinated the field operation, brought seven special needs cases back to WBR, to join a sanctuary population of 53 other burros, a cow, a mule, a pig, amd six dogs. (Contact WBR at 665 Burnt Ridge Rd., Onalaska, WA 98570; 360-985-7282; >>wildburrorescue@myhome.net<<.)

Pit ponies

Gremlin, 25, and Robbie, 7, the last coal pit ponies in Britain, were on May 25 retired from the Pantygasseg mine near Pontypol, South Wales, and sent to the Royal SPCA equine center in Milton Keynes. Their upkeep will be covered by the RSPCA’s £500,000 Pit Ponies Protection Fund. Ponies had worked in coal pits at least since circa 1750; maybe longer.

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