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.
With PMSG, the business has already been done in socialist Germany (DDR)
At the stud in Meura, blood was already taken during the German Democratic Republic (GDR) times.
This emerges from a report in the Thuringia Journal in the DFF in 1990.
There it says about the production of the hormone PMSG: “Breeding only became profitable through the production of serum from the blood of mares for veterinary medicine.”
Since then, there has been next to no public information about the blood business of the court.
A former employee tells MDR exactly that she found the procedure to be animal cruelty.
She had worked at the Meura stud farm in the 1990s.
“Nobody outside was allowed to know anything,” says the woman.
The staff shouldn’t have spoken on this subject.
Pharma company does not indicate the source
The buyer of the hormone – the pharmaceutical company IDT from Dessau – was part of this secrecy. The business relationship with Meura is not mentioned in an application to the licensing authority, the Federal Office for Consumer Protection:
“We got the sources of supply from IDT,” explains York Ditfurth of the Animal Welfare Foundation.
“Meura was not listed in it”, says the expert on the worldwide blood business with PMSG.
But in this document, the pharmaceutical manufacturers are obliged to indicate the active ingredients – also for safety reasons for consumers.
“That alone is evidence enough to say that it should be covered up,” said Ditfurth, to whom the first information about the blood samples in Thuringia had been leaked.
IDT’s PMSG business has now been taken over by a French company.
But how did the authorities perform their supervisory duties?
“Apparently there was a process going on that could only be approved in retrospect,” explains the spokesman for the responsible ministry for labor, social affairs, and veterinary affairs
Permit only granted in 2020
But research shows exactly that the ministry had known about the events in Meura since 2016 (!!!).
A permit was issued in summer 2020 – as an animal experiment (!!!)
“Either way, the practice of PMSG extraction must be stopped immediately because it is illegal,” says administrative lawyer Markus Ogorek from the University of Cologne.
The procedure is not permissible because there are enough alternative medicines. You don’t have to cause pain to animals. Commercial interests should not be decisive.
“The fact that the ministry did not intervene for such a long period naturally raises questions.”
In fact, blood samples from horses have to go through a proper approval process, say the federal government and other federal states.
The press secretary cannot explain the conduct of his own ministry and the subordinate authorities in the interview.
The ministry now wants to clear up the matter.
And I mean…“With over 350 horses, we are the largest Haflinger stud in Europe. We have been breeding these likable, blond horses here in the small town of Meura for over 30 years (…). We keep our horses as species-appropriate as possible. “, this is how the Meura stud advertises on the Thuringia Tourism GmbH homepage “Discover Thuringia”.
When the suffering of horses during PMSG extraction became known in South America a few years ago, it was far away, and we thought it only happened where there was no legally binding animal welfare law.
But Meura is in Germany, with an animal protection law that is supposed to be one of the best in Europe.
In “Guidelines for the collection, storage, transport and administration of blood and blood products in the veterinary field, paragraph 2.1.2” it is stated quite clearly: Blood may not be drawn from pregnant or lactating mares.
The fact that it was possible to trade the blood of pregnant mares for years without a permit shows how meaningless and weak the animal welfare law becomes when corrupt politicians do business with animals
And it is typical of corrupt business: after years of inactivity, and only after the PMSG production in Meura has been published, the authorities and ministries are examining the jurisdiction and responsibility of a business that has for years been in the gray area of animal cruelty and therefore illegal.
There can be an explanation: there are conflicts of interest within a profitable business at the mares’ expense.
My best regards to all, Venus