Horse farmers lose PMU contracts
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:
BRANDON, Manitoba–Five hundred representatives of the 409
farms that produce pregnant mare’s urine for use by Wyeth Organics on
October 10, 2003 were notified in person at the Keystone Center in
Brandon that the PMU industry may be just about finished.
A third of them were told during the following
weekend–Thanksgiving weekend in Canada–that their services will no
longer be required. Leaving 30 seasonal jobs unfilled due to
plummeting demand for PMU products, Wyeth plans to buy only half as
much PMU as last year.
PMU sales fell after publication of a series of studies
during the past year by the U.S. National Institutes of Health which
documented that hormonal therapy harms menopausal women’s health more
than it helps. Sales had already contracted somewhat under boycott
pressure from animal rights groups. The boycotts began about five
months after ANIMAL PEOPLE in April 2003 exposed the close
confinement of the PMU-producing mares and the sale to slaughter of
most of their foals. The ANIMAL PEOPLE report was based on
investigative findings by Canadian Farm Animal Trust founder Tom
E-mails from well-informed sources indicated that Wyeth,
trying to consolidate to a more defensible position, dropped any PMU
farmers who had violated the company code of humane husbandry, had
difficulty maintaining herd health, resisted the recommendations of
company inspectors, and/or simply sold foals to slaughter instead of
trying to adopt them out.
The PMU farmers, 244 of them in Manitoba and the rest in
Alberta, Saskatchewan, and North Dakota, will be paid the sum they
were promised when they contracted to provide PMU during the
2003-2004 PMU collection season, Wyeth Canada spokesperson Theodora
Samiotis said. Samiotis also promised “additional compensation to
affected producers to assist with the care and feeding of their
mares,” wrote Marcy Nicholson of the Brandon Sun.
“Wyeth is working closely with the North American Equine
Ranching Information Council, which aims to assist financially with
transport costs for horse owners” who are sending their horses to
auction, Nicholson added.
The mares who were expected to have produced PMU this winter
were impregnated during the summer.