In Thuringia, business with the blood of pregnant mares has been kept secret for years. According to MDR research, the responsible ministry had also known about the blood samples for years.
The topic is now a political issue.
So far, blood samples for the production of the hormone PMSG are known mainly from South America. Pregnant mares were repeatedly tortured there in order to be able to produce a drug for factory farming.
In December 2019, the FAKT magazine discovered that blood samples were also taken from horses in Germany.
That happens in Meura in Thuringia.
Anke Sendig runs a stud there. “The blood is taken four times a week, four liters each time,” she explains in December 2019 when the deal was uncovered. “If everything is chic and normal, then 16 liters of whole blood are drawn a week.”
The hormone is then sold and later used in factory farming. This means that sows become pregnant and piglet at the same time. For the horses at the stud in Thuringia, this means that around 100 mares are drawn with large cannulas within 50 days.
The operator claims that it would do this in accordance with the requirements.
More blood is drawn than allowed
Karsten Feige from the Clinic for Horses at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover has worked on the guidelines for taking blood from horses. This sets the guideline for the maximum amount of blood that can be drawn from an animal.
Over 100 liters of blood were drawn from the mares in Meura in seven weeks.
“That clearly does not match the guidelines,” says veterinarian Karsten Feige.
“If we use the guidelines to the maximum, you can lose a maximum of 24 liters from a 500-kilogram horse, but not 112.”
Experts also say that no blood should be drawn from pregnant mares.
The operators of the stud counter that red blood cells are returned to the animals and that the guidelines are only recommendations.
“They are not laws, they are guidelines. But of course, they do imply that you should absolutely adhere to them,” replies Professor Karsten Feige.
If this is not done, there must be a good reason. Otherwise, there could be legal consequences, as court rulings have shown.