One-legged Sweet Nothing stays ahead of killer buyers
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2006:
Sweet Nothing, right, kept by Cindy Wasney & Dick Jackson
of Victoria, British Columbia, is an emissary for Premarin foals,
Big Julie’s Rescue Ranch in Fort McLeod, Alberta, and horses who
learn to live with prosthetic legs.
“I bought her at a feed lot auction,” Big Julie’s Rescue
Ranch founder Roger Brinker told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “She was a $200
horse,” going for little more than the minimum bid.
Conventional belief is that horses who suffer severe leg
injuries must be euthanized, but some especially valuable stud
horses have been saved with prosthetic limbs, typically costing
$6,000 to $8,000.
After Sweet Nothing convinced Brinker’s veterinarian that she
had the right personality to accept a prosthetic limb, Ron Handkamer
of Colman Prosthetics in Calgary improvised one to fit her, Brinker
said–and refused any payment.
Premarin, an estrogen supplement derived from pregnant
mares’ urine, was the top-selling prescription drug worldwide as
recently as 2001, with annual sales of $732 million. Producing
Premarin requires keeping mares pregnant, breeding a constant
surplus of foals, many of whom are sold to slaughter.
Premarin sales have plummeted since the Women’s Health
Initiative study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in
July 2002 notified 16,000 participants who took Prempro, a drug
combining Premarin with progestin, that the supplements are
associated with increased risk from heart attacks, strokes, and
blood clots forming in the lungs.
However, Wyeth-Ayerst, the Prempro and Premarin
manufacturer, on September 15, 2006 won the first of about 4,500
pending lawsuits from former estrogen supplement uses.
“A federal jury ruled against Linda Reeves, 67,” reported
Andrew DeMillo of Associated Press. “During the four-week trial,
Reeves acknowledged not reading information supplied with the drug
and said she left it up to her doctor to decide whether it was
appropriate to treat symptoms of menopause.
“Reeves, diagnosed in 2000 with a cancerous tumor in her
right breast, initially took Premarin, a form of estrogen, and her
doctor soon added progestin to her daily regimen. She switched to
Prempro in 1996, which for the first time combined Premarin and
progestin in one pill. After her cancer diagnosis, Reeves had a
mastectomy and chemotherapy. She has been cancer-free since,”
The verdict went the opposite way for former University of
Vermont professor Eric Poehlman, 50, of Montreal, who between 1992
and 2002 produced several of the most influential studies promoting
and defending the use of Premarin.. Poehlman on June 28, 2006
became the first academic researcher in the U.S. to receive prison
time –a year and a day–for fabricating scientific data.
“In spring 2005 Poehlman pleaded guilty to one count of
making false statements in a successful 1999 application to the
National Institutes of Health for a $542,000 grant. He also admitted
faking results in numerous studies and proposals for a decade
beginning in 1992,” reported Adam Silverman of the Burlington
(Vermont) Free Press.