A ban on hormones the from blood of pregnant horses closer thanks to Party for the Animals

8 april 2022

A proposal by the Dutch Party for the Animals to introduce a European ban on the fertility drug PMSG, which is made from the blood of pregnant horses, was recently adopted by a large majority in the Dutch House of Representatives. Previously, the European Parliament called for such a ban on the initiative of the Party for the Animals as well.

Mare on an Icelandic blood farm while draining blood. Photo: Tierschutzbund Zürich.

The fertility drug PMSG (or: 'Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin') is used in livestock farming in the breeding of pigs, cows, sheep, rabbits and horses. In order to make it, about 5 to 10 litres of blood per week are systematically drained from pregnant horses on so-called 'blood farms' in South America and Iceland, among others. This causes serious health and welfare problems, as evidenced by the research of the animal protection organizations Tierschutzbund Zürich and Animal Welfare Foundation.

"PMSG is a horrible drug. To produce it, horses are made pregnant over and over again so that they produce fertility hormones, after which their blood is drained in large quantities," says Frank Wassenberg, member of parliament of the Party for the Animals. "To speed up the production process, the foals are often aborted. This kind of practice is absolutely unacceptable. With this motion, the House of Representatives has made it clear that the Dutch government must stop the production and import of PMSG as soon as possible."

In the European Parliament, too, the Party for the Animals has been working for years on a ban on PMSG. Last October, Parliament supported a proposal by MEP Anja Hazekamp to stop both the import and production in Europe. "To rob pregnant horses of their blood to fertilize pigs more quickly for meat production is something that cannot and should not be part of our food system. It is encouraging that in line with the European Parliament, more and more EU countries are also for stopping these horror practices on blood farms as soon as possible," says Hazekamp.

Thanks to a new regulation regarding veterinary medicinal products, the European Commission is legally obliged to impose animal welfare requirements to produce veterinary medicinal products by the end of January 2025 latest. The Party for the Animals – and as of recent, the Dutch House of Representatives and the European Parliament as well – insists on a much earlier date as well as to ensure that these requirements are robust enough to stop the import and production of PMSG throughout Europe.