Teen author gives $10,000 for premarin horses

February 1, 2012

A 16-year-old American author has given $US10,000 to an Oregon charity that provides a home for 100 mares and foals from Canadian farms that gather pregnant mare urine.

Alexandra Gritta
The urine is used in the manufacture of hormone replacement.

Alexandra Gritta's donation to the Duchess Sanctuary in Oakland has been matched dollar for dollar by the Humane Society of the United States.

Gritta, who is president of the Charity Book Series, Inc, a non-profit corporation, said her donation came from the profit of her children's book, "Mystery at Silver Key Stables" and her own personal fund-raising efforts.

More than 180 rescued horses are allowed to roam free on the 1120-acre Duchess Sanctuary, a rural property outside of Roseburg, Oregon, run by the Fund for Animals in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Duchess Sanctuary ranch manager Jennifer Kunz reports that among these are 100 mares and foals rescued from Canadian pregnant mare urine (PMU) farms.

After visiting the Duchess Sanctuary in July 2011, Gritta was inspired by the genuine love and concern that Kunz has for the horses she has cared for since their rescue.

Celine Myers, founder of the Ark Watch Foundation, rescued the PMU mares that now call Duchess Sanctuary home.

Myers reports that these mares were formerly used at Canadian PMU farms, where their urine was collected and used by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Pfizer, in the manufacture of hormone replacement therapy drugs, including Premarin.

Mares are required to be pregnant for their urine to be suitable for the drug and they wear urine collection devices.

Gritta said she suspected most women did not realize the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin actually stood for PREgnant MARe urINe.

She expressed her concerns about the lives led by the horses at the urine collection farms, and that some of the animals, sent to auction, ultimately fall prey to slaughterhouse buyers.

Alexandra Gritta with horses at the Duchess Sanctuary.