A petition (https://tinyurl.com/ya3rwsjo) calling on the European Union to ban the import of products containing a hormone acquired from pregnant mares is rapidly gaining support.

World Horse Welfare is calling on the public to support the campaign following recent investigations undertaken by Germany’s Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) that have uncovered “apparently brutal practices” to acquire the hormone, pregnant mare’s serum gonadotropin, (PMSG).

The report sheds light on farms in Uruguay, where blood is harvested from pregnant mares for use in veterinary drugs.

“The video reveals a number of horrific findings,” said a World Horse Welfare spokesman.

“Semi-feral mares are shown being violently handled and roughly restrained while their blood is collected, before being turned out into paddocks – apparently weak and exhausted.

“Even more disturbing is the fact the mares’ pregnancies are routinely, manually aborted with no pain relief, care or compassion.

“This terrible abuse is said to be for the production of hormone PMSG, which is used in veterinary drugs to stimulate and synchronise oestrus in millions of farm animals.”

The spokesman said the charity is “disgusted and appalled” by the findings in the report.

“It raises serious questions as to what regulations are in place to protect these helpless mares, how they are being enforced and how such products could be available in Europe,” he added.

A petition from Avaaz.org calling on the European Union to stop the import of these products has already collected more than 1.5 million signatures but World Horse Welfare is urging more people to show their support by signing and sharing the petition.

“The AWF’s film is simply sickening to watch – a complete affront to even the most basic principles of horse welfare,” said the charity’s chief executive Roly Owers.

“The alleged systematic, repeated manual abortions of these mares’ foals are particularly ethically reprehensible.

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“The AWF’s findings raise serious questions about whether the horses are adequately protected within existing regulations around PMSG production, and whether the EU should be importing products derived from such brutality.

“That is why we are supporting this petition to European Union institutions to reconsider allowing imports of PMSG into the EU while there are such extreme concerns. However, even with higher standards, we remain to be convinced that horse welfare could ever be truly protected in PMSG production and if the drug is needed, more and improved synthetic alternatives have to be found or different farm animal management practices adopted.”

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