Pregnant horses bleed for the pharmaceutical industry

Stud in Thuringia
Pregnant horses also bleed for the pharmaceutical industry in Germany

At the Meura Stud in Thuringia, Haflingers have been used to produce PMSG for decades

© Animal Welfare Foundation

Not only in Iceland, but also in Germany, liters of blood are taken from pregnant horses. PMSG hormone is used in the production of industrial pigs

Only recently, revelations about horse breeding in Iceland shocked animal rights activists and horse lovers. Research by the Animal Welfare Foundation has revealed that liters of blood are drawn from thousands of pregnant mares in Iceland each year to sell to the pharmaceutical industry. PMSG (Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin) is used in industrial pig farming to increase piglet pregnancy rate and better planning ability.

Horse blood is also used in the pharmaceutical industry in Germany

But there is also at least one “horse blood farm” in Germany. The German Animal Welfare Association now reports this. Accordingly, blood has been drawn from pregnant mares at the Meura flower farm in Thuringia for years. This is proven by MDR’s research and two legal opinions. In a report issued in March 2021, attorney Markus Ogorek of the University of Cologne wrote that “large blood draws” are animal experiments that require consent and cannot be approved at all. They are neither necessary nor morally justified – and therefore illegal.

When asked about this, she referred the Thuringian Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health, Women and Family to the State Consumer Protection Office. But there, animal rights activists were denied access to the files. Al-Malbat had lodged an objection, explaining that the matter was related to “company secrets”. “In accordance with strict conditions of animal care and hygiene,” Miura Merbat wrote on his website, “mares will be removed “a maximum of four times a week for two liters of plasma” until the 100th day of pregnancy.

Comment Dr. Esther Muller, director of science at the German Animal Welfare Association. “And the authorities let everything go to this day.” After all, the State Consumer Protection Bureau has now agreed to evaluate the two legal opinions that animal testing is involved. However, it is not about consent but only about “subject to notification”. The complaint filed by the Animal Welfare Foundation against the state office has been before the Thuringia High Administrative Court since August 2021.

Affected horses should not be concerned with this difference. “The animals suffer a huge loss of blood,” Muller says. Hypovolemic shock can also occur during removal. In addition, regular punctures can lead to painful inflammation and clotting.

The abuse of profitable horses in Iceland

Research by the Animal Welfare Foundation and the Tierschutzbund Zürich Foundation in Iceland shows that animals are mistreated by staff when they are restrained, they experience pain when blood is drawn and extreme stress. According to an Icelandic lawyer, Icelandic animal welfare laws are regularly violated on horse blood farms.

The cannula used to draw blood from Icelandic horses can be clearly seen in recordings made secretly in 2021.

The cannula used to draw blood from Icelandic horses can be clearly seen in recordings made secretly in 2021.

© Animal Welfare Foundation

The trade in pregnant mares’ blood is profitable for Icelandic horse breeders. According to research by animal rights activists, about 5,000 pregnant horses “bleed to death” in about 100 “blood farms”. About five liters of blood are drawn from the animals once a week in late summer for up to ten weeks. While the dowry only brings about 100 euros, 430 euros can be made with his mother’s blood.

The main countries of origin of PMSG hormone for the German market are Iceland, Argentina and Uruguay. It is clear that the demand is increasing. While there were about 3.8 million individual doses in the years from 2013 to 2016, according to research by MDR, the number rose to about 6.4 million between 2016 and 2019. Due to ongoing violations of animal welfare, the European Parliament asked the EU Commission in October 2021 to adopt A ban on production and imports at the level of the European Union. So far in vain.

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