More Than 5,000 Pregnant Horses Are Imprisoned In Blood Farms In Iceland
More than 5,000 horses are currently being exploited in horrific “blood farms” in Iceland.
Farmers extract the mares’ blood, which is turned into powder by the Icelandic pharmaceutical company Isteka. The powder is then sent to other pharmaceutical companies, which process it into a hormone supplement that livestock farmers give to cows, pigs, and sheep to accelerate reproduction rates, Eurogroup for Animals reports.
Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), can even induce early labor, causing pregnant mamas to give birth sooner than is healthy.
There is demand for mares’ blood because increased reproduction leads to more profits for the farmers in industrial breeding, even if it’s not natural for the animals, reports a study in Society for Cultural Anthropology.
Covert footage of this horrific treatment was first obtained by Animal Welfare Foundation, based in Germany. Video recorded in two facilities shows handlers hitting panicked horses, who are then caged up inside “restraint boxes.” Once locked in place, large needles were inserted into the pregnant horses’ jugular veins to extract blood.
When harvesting the mares’ blood, farmers regularly extract around four times the maximum amount that international standards allow — about 1.3 gallons of blood from each horse each week, for 8 weeks in a row, reports the Icelandic Review.
It can take several weeks for a mare to regenerate the blood lost in the extraction process, another study shows. Left terrified and weak, mares must meanwhile produce milk for their newborn foals and support the growth of another in the womb.
“It’s too much [blood] and … they are trembling and have difficulty walking,” Ingunn Reynisdóttir, an Icelandic veterinarian who specializes in working with horses, told GEO.
“I would like people to know that Iceland is actually stabbing semi-wild pregnant mares, taking their blood in extreme volumes and frequency, just to… make pigs have more pigs,” said Rósa Líf Darradóttir, a doctor and horse owner in Iceland.
Most Icelanders have been unaware of these farms. For decades, the facilities have managed to operate out of the public spotlight. Now that more Icelanders are learning of the inhumanity of blood harvesting, they are rising up in opposition, the Straits Times reports..
According to The Guardian, the European Union is also speaking out, calling the practice “cruel” and considering a ban on the blood-hormone imports.
Minister of Fishing and Agriculture Svandís Svavarsdóttir has organized a work group to investigate the controversial practice of so-called “blood mares” in Iceland. The proposed amendment to the country’s animal welfare laws could end the operation of blood farms for good.
Horses are living creatures and don’t deserve to be exploited in this way. They are not ours to use and abuse. Sign the petition and tell Iceland’s lawmakers to ban blood farms and end the extraction and sale of pregnant horses’ hormones!
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