Archives for posts with tag: horse cruelty

The name of this popular hormone drug stands for PREgnant MARes urINe.  While that gives a pretty good idea as to its source, it doesn’t provide much detail about the harvesting process.

Premarin, used by millions of women to help alleviate symptoms of menopause, has also been associated with such side effects as:  cancer, heart attack, blood clots and stroke.  There is an even lesser known consequence, and that is the egregious harm it inflicts upon the animals from whom it is harvested.

Pregnant mares are confined to crowded stalls, for seven months, where they cannot move or lie down.  During this time, they are attached to a pulley system that collects their urine for the estrogen.  In order to extract the maximum and purest potency of estrogen, these mares are limited to only enough water to survive, placing both mother and unborn foal in danger of illness, dehydration or possible death.

Once they’ve given birth, the mothers are sent back out to pasture to be impregnated again, while their newborns go straight to feedlots, frightened and screaming for their mothers, to be fattened up in preparation for eventual slaughter.  Thus, the mothers are not even given the opportunity to spend time with their foal as it is ripped away and sent to its own unfortunate fate.  Doesn’t sound like much of a life for either, does it?

Pfizer, the company that produces the drug, ultimately sells the fattened foals to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where these docile animals will be butchered and their meat sold in Europe and Asia.

The transport process is harsh, as the terrified animals are whipped and prodded electrically into the trailers, with no food or water provided.  They are crammed with others in an intolerable environment that can reach 110 degrees, and where babies have succumbed to the heat.  These are perhaps the luckiest ones, as what awaits the others is pure horror.

At the slaughter plant, the frightened foals (and the older, used-up horses that are no longer profitable for Pfizer) are crowded into holding pens, where they can hear the screams from the slaughterhouse or smell the blood from those who have gone before them.

Finally, they are herded single file through a narrow entrance, as they are forced to make their way to their brutal, unspeakable demise.  They panic as they try to keep their balance while walking on a floor slick with feces, blood and urine.  One by one, they are shoved into the kill chute; each one will face one of three methods of torture

1. The hydraulic bolt gun, meant to stun the animal, rendering him unconscious but still alive. The worker must aim at a small specific area between the horse’s ears and squeeze the trigger, releasing a 4” steel  bolt into the skull.

2.Workers might use a rifle, standing only feet away, to provide an instant death. However, if the frightened animal is flailing and trying to escape, it will require multiple shots.  Horses often receive nonlethal wounds to the face and continue to suffer until the final shot is rendered that will end their terror and suffering.

3.The puntilla knife, known as the worst way for the animal to die, is used to stab the horse in the neck and spine, causing untold agony. The animal is rendered paralyzed and helpless, lying in its blood and fluids.

Once the horses can no longer resist, they are then dragged to the kill floor, where chains are attached to their hind legs and they are hoisted, upside down.  This makes it easy for workers to slit their throats in order to bleed them out, as their hearts still beat in terror.

The meat workers can then proceed to saw off hooves, legs, and heads; and skin and butcher the animals.  Not a very fitting end for a majestic animal upon whose back we built our country.

If anyone is horrified enough about this unjustice, there are actions we can take.  Women currently on Premarin can choose more natural (and safer) alternatives to this drug.

Folks can contact Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company to demand they end the torture.  Phone number:  1-800-879-3477, or go to to email them.

Contact the Dream Chaser Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation organization to learn more:

By Annoula Wylderich




The Bureau of Land Management has a responsibility to American citizens as well as our wild horses and burros.

Over forty years ago, the Wild Horse and Burro Act was signed into law, in response to the wishes of the American people (and over objections by the cattle industry). The law mandated that wild horses be preserved on public lands.

Forty years later, we have to look back on what a farce that law was and how ineffective it has been towards carrying out its promises.

In Nevada, as well as other western states, teams of horse hunters are paid a bounty to scour public lands and capture an animal. The going rate was $350 per captured animal. I might mention that a couple of these contractors, some of whom had previously worked for the Department of the Interior, have made millions from their buddies in the BLM.

Wild horses are forced to run across some of the roughest terrain in the west, terrified by the helicopters used to frighten them. In the process, they smash their hooves on the sharp rocks, some actually running their hooves off. There have been documented incidents of foals who collapsed after wearing their feet to bloody stumps; some have been left to lie in agony for days before dying or being euthanized. Many horses die on the spot in the snow-covered terrain during the roundups, while others have perished in the holding pens. Pregnant mares, as well, have aborted their young.

Though the BLM regularly issues statements as to their intentions to conduct a more humane roundup and be more open to public input, this doesn’t happen. In fact, more horses are added to the pens of privately owned ranches of BLM-connected friends. The animals will spend the remainder of their lives in these pens, in misery; or they might get shipped to a slaughterhouse across the border. In any case, I doubt the public had this in mind when they celebrated the passage of the WHBA.

While the BLM makes a media circus of issuing announcements or providing information sessions, hundreds of horses are being routinely run to death and also die of dehydration, stress and injuries. There is no refuting the video footage of advocates who have captured the roundups on film. Here, one can see helicopters smashing into animals, or view hired contractors kicking horses and burros in the head, jamming them with cattle prods, and generally abusing them. . .while government observers stand a few feet away, doing absolutely nothing.

Why is this happening? Because the cattle industry wants the public land in order to support privately owned cattle ranches. Unfortunately, the beef industry doesn’t want horses around and the BLM is only too happy to comply. Friends stick with friends, especially when there’s money involved. It’s ironic that though horses are deemed a threat to the land, there are fifty times as many cattle as horses on the range. . .and the effects of long-term livestock grazing are detrimental to our resources. Many of the studies conducted by panels aren’t going to publish the truth because members have ties to the cattle industry.

Sadly, there are only around 25,000 horses still left in the wild, with more than 20 million acres of mustang country no longer being occupied by mustangs. One has to wonder if future generations will still have any wild horses left freely roaming on public lands, or if they will only be able to view their majestic beauty in old western films.

To learn more about the roundups and to view video footage, check out To learn more about horse slaughter, which is where many of these wild horses could end up, click on

If you are motivated to do something, you can contact your representatives, or write to President Obama and let them all know that you expect the BLM to handle horses humanely, by helping preserve them on public lands.

You can go a step further and reduce or limit your consumption of beef, which thereby reduces the demand for it and hits the cattle industry directly in the pocket. Decrease the demand and you impact the supply.

– Annoula Wylderich



Most of us haven’t given much thought to horse slaughter until recent stories emerged about the Bureau of Land Management roundups and the removal of a prohibition on spending tax dollars to inspect horse slaughter plants (a move, encouraged by wealthy slaughter proponents, that will reverse years of a humane policy that ended horse slaughter in the U.S.).  I had to look further into this industry and was horrified by what I discovered.

BLM roundups are strongly opposed by equine groups and animal activists for good reason.  Ample videos have demonstrated that the methods used to gather horses induce fear, injury, and in some tragic cases, death to the animals.  Anyone who thinks that all these animals go to a place where they can live out their days in peace is mistaken.  For many, their ultimate destination will be a slaughter plant. 

According to Southern Winds Equine Rescue, 130,000 horses were mercilessly slaughtered in 2012.  They were shipped over our national borders, only to end up dying brutal deaths in foreign slaughterhouses. 

There is profound animal suffering involved in both the transport and the butchering of horses. The terrified animals are crammed into overcrowded double-decker trailers that are not appropriate for horse transport.  They endure days of travel in this confinement, without food or water, and often in extreme temperatures.  This stressful transport often results in injuries which can lead to leg amputations, broken backs and extreme misery.  It doesn’t get better.  Investigators have witnessed horses with their eyeballs hanging from their sockets; horses being beaten, dragged, and having their limbs broken from rough handling.

At the foreign slaughter plants, the animals are prodded and whipped as they progress through the processing line.  Typically, they are either shot in the face or stabbed in the neck repeatedly in order to sever their spine and be systematically hacked apart piece by piece, usually while still alive.  This is such a frightful, agonizing, and gruesome ending for a beautiful animal that has been part of American history for so long.  And it’s so undeserved.

This year, approximately 100,000 American horses will be transported to their deaths in foreign slaughterhouses, while our elected officials are preparing to open the floodgates for legal horse slaughter in our own country – despite that the overwhelming majority of American citizens object to the butchering. This is outrageous!

Those who are fighting to save and protect these animals are demanding that Congress ban horse slaughter in America.  Citizens are urging the passage of The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and The Horse Protection Act Amendments (that would toughen the laws against abusing horses).  These bills have bipartisan support and with everyone’s help, our newly elected officials will learn that if they value their jobs, they need to pay attention to the call of outraged Americans for whom they work.

Proponents of horse slaughter include breeders, ranchers and lawmakers who have pointed out the untapped economic resource, claiming that the reopening of horse slaughterhouses would create jobs and help increase the market value of horses.  They expressed an interest in seeing horse plants all over the country.  Former Montana state legislator Ed Butcher (appropriately named) commented that “We are looking at plants that will probably kill 100 horses a day, nothing big.”

To see what he considers “nothing big,” I strongly encourage readers to check out the links below to learn more about what the horsemeat trade entails.   It’s a travesty to permit such an integral part of our nation’s history and heritage to be treated so callously.  I urge those who care to contact their legislators or go onto the website and get involved.  Additionally, there are many local advocacy and equine groups in each town, as well as PETA, who are working on this issue.  We shouldn’t permit our Administration to cow-tow to those with big money.  Let your voice be heard loud and often.  That’s what we have representatives for.

– Annoula Wylderich