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From the Townsend Letter
November 2006


Saving the Innocents: A Journey to the Source to Say "Neigh" to Premarin

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On Monday, August 21, 2006, Heather Evans from the Live and Let Live Farm, an Equine Rescue facility in Chichester, New Hampshire, arrived at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Headquarters in Madison, New Jersey, in an effort to raise awareness about the cruelty to horses in the production of Wyeth-Ayerst's Premarin. Premarin, a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) used to treat menopausal or post-hysterectomy women, is made from pregnant mare urine (PREgnant MARe urINe).

To produce Premarin, pregnant mares are hooked up to rubber urine-collection bags and tethered in stalls so small they cannot turn around or lay down comfortably. They are forced to stay in this position for six months, while their bodies are producing the most estrogen. They are also deprived of sufficient water, in order to maintain the concentrated estrogen in the urine. Within days of giving birth in the spring, the mares are re-impregnated. Fertile mares may go through this process many times, over years in their lifetime.

The foals – all but a few kept for stud purposes or to replace worn-out mares – are sold at auction. From there, most go to feedlots to be fattened for slaughter. The mares too are slaughtered once they can no longer become pregnant, or if they become too lame to stand in the small stalls.

Until November 2005, Live and Let Live Farm was one of many rescue havens pre-adopting these foals and mares before they could be sent to auction/slaughter. However, the pharmaceutical company Wyeth reneged on the last load of pre-adopted animals and has canceled the program. Now, all farmers must take their mares' offspring to auction, where most are purchased for slaughter to provide horsemeat (a delicacy in European countries), or lose their subsidy from the drug company.

Heather Evans has chosen to fight a brave fight on behalf of these innocent animals, while urging women to choose a synthetic estrogen alternative to Premarin. She has raised money to support her trip through generous donations and the support of the Live and Let Live Farm's philanthropic network. Heather, along with her horse Tux, traveled to Wyeth campus in Madison, New Jersey to urge Wyeth to change their policy and allow equine rescue facilities to save the by-product of their drug production, the baby horses.

Heather hopes to return home with the peace of mind that Premarin mares and foals can be placed in loving homes and saved from sure death. If Wyeth should refuse to change its view, Heather will continue on to Texas or Illinois, where the auctions are held, most often attended by meat-buyers, and buy as many foals as possible with the money raised to support her "Saving the Innocents" project. Donations have been coming in regularly through her website at and the non-profit equine rescue Live and Let Live Farm at

Heather began her project on May 21, 2006 with a walk from New Hampshire to Manitoba, Canada, where most of the Premarin "Pee" farms are located. She had to end that journey in July due to a foot injury, but has chosen "Plan B," traveling with Tux, as an alternative. Heather has been greeted by media coverage and the kindness of strangers since the beginning. The generosity has been astounding.

To learn more about "Saving the Innocents" or the making of Premarin, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit: or contact Lissa Watson at 603-493-6690 or

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