We just returned from a successful, but very difficult trip to Manitoba, Canada where we rescued 12 slaughter-bound horses, most of whom were PMU mares and foals. We received a tip that a specially organized sale, where many PMU mares would be sold and sent to slaughter, was taking place last month. Usually, PMU mares don't go to auction in large numbers until the spring. However, our sources informed us that due to a decrease in the number of PMU farms in Manitoba, there was going to be a "bloodbath" of PMU mares going to slaughter. (NOTE: The decrease in Canadian PMU farms is a result of a dramatic escalation of PMU production and PMU farms in the U.S. More will reported on this very disturbing trend in the near future.)
We immediately started to raise money for this emergency rescue. There wasn't much time and we had to be very careful and discreet so as not to tip off the PMU industry that a rescue operation was being planned. Luckily, we were able to raise some money and at the same time, arrange for permanent and temporary homes for the horses.
In addition to pregnant PMU mares, we also rescued three foals, and an aged gelding that was also being sold that day and who was being bid on by several of the "killer buyers" present. He was such a sweet old guy that we just had to come to his rescue as well. We didn't want to see him go to slaughter.
Of course, there were many horses sold that day that we couldn't save. Two pregnant PMU mares ended up in a kill pen and when we approached the "killer buyer" and offered to pay him twice the price he paid for them, he flatly refused, happy to ship them rather than sell them to us. This was quite a shock as we were being more than fair and would have paid even more money just to save these mares...but this particular killer buyer (who incidentally is said to possess over 2000 PMU foals in his stockyard), chose to ship them instead. This was devastating for us; we tried everything to try to save these two mares. I have never seen any "killer buyer" turn down that kind of a profit. My own opinion is that he was angry that rescuers did show up at this sale and that we were bidding against him and other "killer buyers" for the same horses. Even though there seemed to be well over a hundred people present, we were the only ones other than the "killer buyers" who were bidding on PMU mares and foals, and other horses that were aged, unsound or unable to be ridden. He just didn't want us to have those mares. We were crushed.
Sadly, there was still more tragedy to come. One of the PMU mares was not only pregnant, but she was well over 25 years of age, emaciated and had open wounds all over her body. She was treated by a veterinarian as soon as we got her away from the auction house. We named her "Carla". After a brief lay-over in Manitoba, we shipped her and our other 11 rescued horses to a safe haven in another province where they would remain before being sent to the U.S. They had to be examined by a veterinarian and receive the necessary health papers in order to ship them over the border into this country. "Carla" made it to the safe haven. She seemed to love being groomed and fed apples. She loved the attention she was getting and I looked forward to receiving daily reports about how she and the others were doing and how well they were responding to good nutrition and lots of TLC. Everything was set to send her to a loving home where she could recuperate and regain her strength.
Tragically, Carla went down. Her body seemed to be shutting down. The vet came and said she might make it, but when she went down for a second time, we knew that she could not. "Carla" was humanely euthanized on a tranquil Canadian farm where she received a peaceful and dignified death. Had we not outbid the "killer buyers" for her, she would have probably gone down in the trailer and either been trampled to death, or if she was still breathing, dragged out in chains into the slaughterhouse. She was old, used up and being cruelly discarded after being used and abused for so many years. I knew that she was old, but even the vet thought that she might make it. All we wanted was for her to have the last couple of years or precious months of her tragic life filled with lots of love and quality care. Sadly, she only lasted 11 days after we rescued her, but again, I'm glad that we were able to provide her with a peaceful and dignified end, one which well over a million horses used and exploited by the PMU industry never received...
And the mass slaughter of PMU mares, foals and stallions cruelly continues every year. (NOTE: "Carla" was quite old for a PMU mare and probably was referred to as, "a good producer", in the industry. Consequently, she must have made a substantial amount of money for her exploiters over the years. According to sources, life on the PMU farms is so hard, that an estimated ONE QUARTER of the mares standing on PMU lines have to be replaced ever year.)
(ANOTHER NOTE: Doctors no longer have to give women Premarin and other products produced from pregnant mares' urine (PMU) in order to prescribe conjugated estrogens to treat the symptoms of menopause. Since 1999, there is now a SYNTHETIC FORM of conjugated estrogens on the market called "CENESTIN", which has been dubbed, "Synthetic Premarin." Encourage women to ask their doctors about this synthetic drug that is the most chemically similar to Premarin, but not made from horse urine. This is a new weapon in our arsenal in the fight against the use of horses to produce PMU products. Let's spread the word!)
ON A MUCH HAPPIER NOTE, the remaining 11 horses that we rescued in Canada are all doing well. One of the foals, "Little Lucy" is deformed and a vet is determining whether or not surgery can help her. As I mentioned before, all are either in permanent or foster homes. If anyone is interested in adopting any of the ones who have not yet been permanently placed, please write to us or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org