Oregon Teen Author Alexandra Gritta Raises $20,000 for Rescued PMU Horses at Duchess Sanctuary

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Sixteen-year-old Alexandra Gritta works to raise both funds and public awareness for horses forced to suffer at PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) facilities in order to produce the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin®.

Teen author Alexandra Gritta advocates for horses by speaking out against the cruelty and horse slaughter underlying the Premarin® industry.

...I believe most women do not realize the hormone replacement therapy drug, Premarin® actually stands for 'PREgnant MARe urINe' and that it is a billion dollar industry built on horse abuse and slaughter.

Alexandra Gritta, sixteen-year-old author and President of the Charity Book Series®, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, announced today her charitable gift to Duchess Sanctuary in Oakland, Oregon. Gritta's donation comes from the profit of her children's book, “Mystery at Silver Key Stables,” and her own personal fund-raising efforts. Her charitable gift of $10,000 brought another $10,000 in matching funds from the Humane Society of the United States, for a total donation of $20,000 to the Duchess Sanctuary.

More than 180 rescued horses are allowed to roam free on the 1,120 acres of land at Duchess Sanctuary, a rural property outside of Roseburg, Oregon, run by the Fund for Animals in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary Ranch Manager, reports that among these are 100 mares and foals rescued from Canadian Pregnant Mare Urine (PMU) farms. After visiting the Duchess Sanctuary in July 2011, Gritta was inspired by the genuine love and concern that Jennifer Kunz has for the horses she has cared for since their rescue.

Celine Myers, founder of the Ark Watch Foundation, rescued the PMU mares that now call Duchess home. Myers reports that these mares were formerly used at Canadian PMU farms where their urine was collected and used by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Pfizer, in the manufacture of hormone replacement therapy drugs, including Premarin®. A Duchess Sanctuary video clip released by the Humane Society of the United States (6/24/2011) depicts how PMU mares are kept in a constant state of pregnancy, forced to wear plastic urine collection devices, and tied up for six months of every pregnancy in stalls so small the mares cannot even turn around. After foaling, the mares are immediately impregnated again and the brutal cycle repeated.

Although horse rescue organizations try desperately to save as many PMU horses as possible, according to Vivian Grant Farrell, founder of the International Fund for Horses, "Live PMU foals, by-products of the endless horse pregnancies necessary to manufacture Premarin®, are typically sent to auction where they fall prey to slaughterhouse buyers. Sometimes the foals are shipped in live loads to foreign markets for slaughter. When the exhausted PMU mares finally wear out, they too often end up in the hands of slaughter buyers. Conservatively speaking, hundreds of thousands of PMU mares and foals have probably died in connection with the manufacture of the Premarin® family of drugs. Taking into consideration the quantity of pregnant mare urine required to make Premarin® and its high volume of sales, that number is quite possibly as high as a million, probably even higher. These numbers, of course, will continue to climb as long as women continue to choose to take drugs manufactured from pregnant mare urine."

Alexandra Gritta: "I decided to speak out because I believe most women do not realize the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin® actually stands for PREgnant MARe urINe, and that it is a billion dollar industry built on horse abuse and slaughter."

A Stock Markets Review article, dated May 18, 2010, reports Pfizer/Wyeth now has another drug in the pipeline, awaiting FDA approval and intended to be marketed as a drug for both osteoporosis and post-menopausal symptoms. The new drug Aprela® is also manufactured from pregnant mare urine. This news bodes ill for horses, as the market for Aprela® has the potential to be even more lucrative for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry than Premarin®, with Epsicom Business Intelligence forecasting future worldwide sales for osteoporosis drugs to be nearly US$14 billion by 2014.

Alexandra Gritta: "The amount of pregnant mare urine that will be required for Pfizer/Wyeth to continue to manufacture Premarin® plus its new drug Aprela®, if it is approved, is unimaginable. It is even harder to imagine the suffering and the slaughter of the horses that will be necessary to provide it."

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Alexandra Gritta, President of Charity Book Series®, Inc., presents a donation check to Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary's Ranch Manager. A rescue horse named India appears to be giving Alexandra an encouraging nudge from behind. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Alexandra Gritta, President of Charity Book Series®, Inc., presents a donation check to Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary's Ranch Manager. A rescue horse named India appears to be giving Alexandra an encouraging nudge from behind. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary's Ranch Manager: "We are so very grateful for this generous donation from Alexandra and her foundation. We are proud of Alexandra's work and honored by her continued support. The funds will be used to provide care for the more than 100 beautiful former PMU mares and their offspring that call Duchess home."  (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary's Ranch Manager: "We are so very grateful for this generous donation from Alexandra and her foundation. We are proud of Alexandra's work and honored by her continued support. The funds will be used to provide care for the more than 100 beautiful former PMU mares and their offspring that call Duchess home." (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Teen author Alexandra Gritta writes about horses to help them, donating the profit from her children's book, "Mystery at Silver Key Stables," to organizations that rescue and provide safe habitats for horses. Available at Amazon.com and Powells.com. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Teen author Alexandra Gritta writes about horses to help them, donating the profit from her children's book, "Mystery at Silver Key Stables," to organizations that rescue and provide safe habitats for horses. Available at Amazon.com and Powells.com. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Marie, one of the rescued mares at Duchess Sanctuary, previously spent her repeated pregnancies confined to a tiny stall in a Canadian PMU barn. (Photo credit: Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary)Marie, one of the rescued mares at Duchess Sanctuary, previously spent her repeated pregnancies confined to a tiny stall in a Canadian PMU barn. (Photo credit: Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary)Marie, shown here with Alexandra Gritta (Charity Book Series, Inc.) and Jennifer Kunz (Duchess Sanctuary), now has the retirement she deserves, and the special care and medication she needs, at Duchess Sanctuary. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Marie, shown here with Alexandra Gritta (Charity Book Series, Inc.) and Jennifer Kunz (Duchess Sanctuary), now has the retirement she deserves, and the special care and medication she needs, at Duchess Sanctuary. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Rescued mares (from right to left) Paulina, Princess, Annabelle, Genny, Bonnie and Ginger used to be identified only as numbers at Canadian PMU farms. Now they have names and are allowed to socialize in their own herds and to run free at Duchess Sanctuary. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)Rescued mares (from right to left) Paulina, Princess, Annabelle, Genny, Bonnie and Ginger used to be identified only as numbers at Canadian PMU farms. Now they have names and are allowed to socialize in their own herds and to run free at Duchess Sanctuary. (Photo credit: Charity Book Series®, Inc.)