Chapter ~ The Premarin Story
As told by Lynn Hummer at Pregnant Mare Rescue
75,000 mares throughout North Dakota and Canada have been impregnated and confined to cramped stalls so their estrogen rich urine can be collected for use in a drug called Premarin. for six months, while their bodies are producing the most estrogen, these mares are unable to take more than a step or two in any direction, turn around, or even lie down. Lameness often develops. All so that they can be put right back into production the next winter and then re-impregnated within days of giving birth. Within a few months, they are separated from their foals and put back on the urine line. Fertile mares may go through this grueling cycle year after year. At the tender age of 4 months old, the foals are either kept for stud purposes or to replace other mares who are sold. When the foals get older and become worn, they too get sold for unreasonable purposes.
This kind of treatment is horrific. In 2011 we helped by rallying and raising $10,000 to rescue Premarin mares. We commit to three and rescue four. I am always overwhelmed by the fact that they show me so much kindness when they arrive to my rescue. There seems to be a glimmer of hope in their eyes, a chance of finally being safe.
One year we had four mares that looked as if they were starving to death. We had left bundles of fresh grass hay out for an all night feast. By sunrise not a trace was to be found. I have no proof and I have no evidence, but they look to me as though they had been fending for themselves in the North Dakota cold, knee deep in snow for many months.
Here at the rescue, they have access to fresh grass hay all day and I also supplement their lunch. I started gaining their trust by petting them in exchange for treats. They smell and touch my hand, and they get a bite to eat. I stroke their face, and they get the bucket of treats. Boy they learn fast.
One mare named Malibu didn’t even want the treats. This mare stood on the line for almost ten years. Her first nine foals were sold. Her tenth, Madrid was born here with us. Malibu’s pretty face still reflects the pain, sadness, and the inexplicable grief of living in a barn of eighty mares all suffering the same loss; babies sent to be sold. I am pleased to have been able to get Malibu to a better circumstance. She has nice digs, fresh water, and a new foal at her side with an abundance of hay. Yet, some days she stands with tears in her eyes. Are there enough days left in her life to undo her pain and suffering? I don’t know. What I do know is that she is forever in our care, forever under our protection, and she will never have another horrific experience.