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Mares can enjoy freedom and open air at the Duchess Sanctuary

Mares that were once trapped in dark, crowded stalls to provide hormone replacement therapy drugs for women can now roam free at Duchess Sanctuary for horses in Eugene, Oregon.

More than 200 horses roam on 1,120 acres of land in this rural area, run by the Fund for Animals in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the organization reports. The horses there are provided for after traumatizing lives full of neglect, abuse or abandonment. Many of the mares were used in the Premarin industry, the HSUS reports. Locked in a barn for six months of the year in a constant state of pregnancy, unable to lie down or turn around, the horses wore collection devices to capture their urine for use in Premarin, a hormone cream for women, according to the National Institutes of Health. After they were no longer useful, they would be killed, as would their foals.

But now, these horses roam the pastures of the oasis, munching on grass and being cared for by specialists and volunteers at the center. Alexandra Gritta, who visited the sanctuary this summer, said the horses are calm, friendly and trusting of humans, despite their horrific pasts, the HSUS reports.
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