International Coalition of 14 Animal Welfare Organizations Demand EU Commission Ban the Import of PMSG from South America

Friday, November 4, 2022 - 09:34
Investigation Category: 

Animals’ Angels, as part of an international coalition of 14 animal welfare organizations is calling upon the EU Commission to take immediate action and follow through on a demand made by the European Parliament last year to stop the import and production of PMSG in the European Union.

Pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG), a hormone which is present only in the blood of mares during early pregnancy, is used by industrial animal breeders to increase the fertility of farmed animals, thus increasing the number of offspring these animals can produce each year. The production and use of PMSG is cruel and inhumane, causing intense suffering for both the donor mares and the recipient farm animals, which are usually sows.

For the last seven years, Animals’ Angels has worked with a coalition of international animal advocacy organizations to end the production of PMSG at commercial blood farms operating in South America. As a result, four out of five European pharmaceutical companies stopped the import of PMSG from South America, and in 2021 the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the European Commission to stop the import and production of PMSG in the European Union.

“Unfortunately, the EU Commission has once again failed to take action on a resolution issued by the EU Parliament,” stated Sonja Meadows, founder of Animals’ Angels. “Thus, the suffering caused by the production and use of PMSG continues as recent investigations in Uruguay and Argentina have shown.”

These recent investigations, conducted by Animals’ Angels European Partners Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich over the last two years, were prompted by the threat of Syntex reemerging in the European market. The Argentinian company had been a PMSG supplier to European pharmaceutical companies until investigations conducted in 2015 and 2018 exposed the serious abuse inflicted on the animals at their blood farm. When the horrifying conditions were made public, the pharmaceutical companies stopped buying PMSG from Syntex.

But in 2019, Syntex sought authorization to market their PMSG product in Europe again (together with local distribution partners) in an attempt to make a comeback in the European market. Thus far, Syntex has changed the name of their product from Novormon to Fixplan and has established a company called Syn Vet-Pharma Ireland Limited in Ireland. Fixplan has already been approved in Ireland, France, Spain, and Germany, and the authorization procedure is in process in several EU member states.

The investigations prompted by this disturbing development have exposed further evidence of the cruelty involved in PMSG production, confirming that from a single pregnant mare approximately ten liters of blood a week for a twelve-week period is taken. Blood loss of this proportion can cause dangerously low levels of protein and iron, a weakened immune system, and in some cases even hypovolemic shock.

  1. methods used to capture and restrain the horses during the extraction process are brutally abusive, inflicting trauma on these poor animals over and over again in a nightmarish cycle of blood and suffering.

“The foals produced during the process are unwanted and often aborted, and many mares can’t survive an abortion so late in the pregnancy,” explains Sonja Meadows. “The suffering of the animals on these blood farms is truly heartbreaking.”

This is why Animals’ Angels, Eurogroup for Animals, and animal welfare organizations from Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Uruguay, Argentina and Canada call on the EU Commission to take immediate action and ban the import and production of PMSG in the European Union once and for all.