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The sad fate of mares bred for their blood "until exhaustion"

Up to ten litres are taken twice a week on the animals to produce a hormone intended for the breeding of the whole world.

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The sad fate of mares bred for their blood
Ill-treatment, weekly blood withdrawals and repeated abortions ... From March 2015 to April 2017, Swiss associations Tierschutzbund Zurich (TSB) and German Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) investigated fate of mares in five "blood farms" in Argentina and Uruguay. This very particular type of trade is intended to recover a hormone, equine chorionic gonadotropin (ECG), on mares in gestation. It is globally taken by sheep, goats, pigs and cattle farmers who want to maximize productivity and profitability of ir livestock.

Welfarm, an NGO specialised in global protection of farm animals, relays results of this survey, released on Thursday 5 October. Adeline Colont, one of spokespersons of association, answered questions of world.

What is ECG and what is it for?

Equine Chorionic gonadotropin (ECG) is an equine hormone secreted by placenta of mare from 40th day of gestation to about 120th. It is widely used in sheep, goats, pigs, bovine animals in order to synchronize heats in females. It is possible to program births, reduce intervals between fertilization and low stakes, and optimize reproduction, thus productivity.

It is associated with syntic hormones in order to block cycle of females, just before initiating ir ovulation. This allows, for example, to make prepubescent sows fertile earlier or to dispose of milk lambs by mass at Easter, whereas instead y should arrive in June-July.

Where are "blood farms" located and with which countries are y trading?

They are mainly in Argentina and Uruguay. The associations that conducted survey estimate that 10 000 mares would be exploited in se two countries. Iceland would also be an ECG supplier country, but to a lesser extent. Europe, United States and Canada are main importers of this hormone. In its presentation in powder form, this one is worth a million dollars 100 grams. According to customs figures, between January and May, company Syntex-Argentina exported a kilo of eCG to France, and its Uruguayan branch, 0295 kg.

What impact does this trade have on animal health?

The mares exploited spend most of ir time without veterinary supervision, away from buildings of se farms. They are only approximated during eleven weeks in which y produce hormone. They're getting punches to get into boxes of contention.

There, blood samples are carried out by inserting a cannula into jugular vein. They can go up to 10 litres at one time and are practiced up to twice a week, which would be to take at least 1.5 litres of blood in a human 80 kg. The importance of se samples results in anemias resulting from skin diseases, decreased blood volume, weakening of immune system, or even death.

What happens to mares that resist this shock treatment?

After blood-taking campaign is over, mares undergo manual abortions, without anessia, after three and a half months of pregnancy, while gestation in se animals lasts in principle eleven months. Then y are again fertilized ... until exhaustion. After three to four years, those who survived se years of abuse or became sterile, go to slaughterhouse to feed horse meat trade, especially to France.

What is position of European authorities in face of se practices?

These abuses are contrary to laws of animal protection in force in Europe. In March 2016, European Parliament considered in an amendment that production of ECG in third countries does not conform to Union standards, which does not prevent French laboratories and or European states from providing ECG to countries less In terms of animal welfare.

It is now up to Council of European ministers to decide. He has to meet on 9 October, but we do not yet know his agenda. In addition, more than 1.7 million people in Europe have already signed a petition calling for ban on importing ECG from Argentina and Uruguay.

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