A bloody business: Call to halt the work of equine “blood farms”

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Stalls used for blood extraction in a building on a farm in Argentina.
Stalls used for blood extraction in a building on a farm in Argentina. © Animal Welfare Foundation

Several international equine charities including Brooke have got behind a petition to stop horses being used on “blood farms” in the Americas for the pharmaceutical industry.

The industry uses the blood of pregnant mares for the production of the hormone Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), which is used for the induction and synchronization of oestrus in pigs and other farm animals.

Animals’ Angels and the Animal Welfare Foundation investigated the industry for several months, speaking to veterinarians, finding customs documents and installing a camera in a blood farm.

“This bloody business has existed for 30 years,” they said. It was a business which operates in Uruguay and Argentina in acquiescence and without controls, they asserted − “a business which European consumers should be informed about”.

Hundreds of mares grazing in open fields.
Hundreds of mares grazing in open fields on a blood farm in Argentina. Photo: Animal Welfare Foundation

Animals’ Angels said blood farms were a high dollar enterprise comprising “donor herds” of horses kept for blood extraction purposes only. “The blood drawn from the horses kept on these farms is used by companies throughout the US and abroad for a variety of applications such as biological research, diagnostic manufacturing and veterinary drugs.”

More than 1.6 million people have signed a petition on Avaaz to the EU parliament to ban the practice.

Petra Ingram, Chief Executive of Brooke, said the international working horse charity was deeply concerned about the reports from Avaaz, Animal Welfare Foundation and Animals Angels about  welfare concerns associated with the process of obtaining blood from pregnant horses.

Brooke wasn’t able to tackle this issue directly, she said, but if its supporters wanted to get involved, she urged them to visit the Avaaz petition which calls for Europe to ban any goods produced using such techniques.

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