To produce Premarin, pregnant mares are hooked up to rubber urine-collection bags and tethered in stalls so small they cannot turn around or lay down comfortably. They are forced to stay in this position for six months, while their bodies are producing the most estrogen. They are also deprived of sufficient water, in order to maintain the concentrated estrogen in the urine. Within days of giving birth in the spring, the mares are re-impregnated. Fertile mares may go through this process many times, over years in their lifetime.
The foals- all but a few kept for stud purposes or to replace worn-out mares – are sold at auction. From there, most go to feedlots to be fattened for slaughter. The mares too are slaughtered once they can no longer become pregnant, or if they become too lame to stand in the small stalls.
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