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“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
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“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
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“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.

23. Horses Face Lives of Unnecessary Abuse for Drug Company Profits


The Animals’ Agenda
March/April 2001
Title: Pissing their Lives Away

Faculty Evaluator: Wendy Ostroff
Student Researchers: Kelly Hand, Adam Cimino, Haley Mueller

Premarin, the top selling hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women, is made from pregnant mares’ urine (PMU). Estrogen is extracted from the urine and is sold in many different forms to help with the symptoms of menopause. Approximately 9 million women are currently taking some form of Premarin and that number is expected to rise due to aging baby boomers. Premarin, made by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a subsidiary of American Home Products, is the only human estrogen replacement drug that is derived from animal products, most others are derived from soy and vegetables. The patent on Premarin, owned by Wyeth-Ayerst, is about to expire. This may well result in the manufacture of an array of generic substitutes, and is likely to increase the number of horses used in this industry.

Pregnant horses are four legged drug machines-being repeatedly impregnated and confined to narrow stalls as their urine is collected. Horses are kept inside for 6 months out of the year. The horses are housed in cramped stalls 8’x 3 1/2’x5’. Horses are hooked up to a urine collection bag that is fixed into position just below their tail. These urine collection devises (UCDs) are painful and unhygienic. Urine soaks the skin of the vulva and can cause severe infection and painful lesions. The horses are tied with a short rope to keep them from taking more then a single step in either direction, or from lying down. After several years on line, the mares are shipped to slaughterhouses where they are butchered so their meat can be exported to Europe or Japan for human consumption.

Today, there are 439 PMU farms still in existence. The majority are in Canada and a few are in North Dakota. In 1999 there were about 55, 000 to 65,000 mares on the “pee lines”. Guidelines state that horses should be offered water no less then two times per day. However, PMU farmers prefer to water as little as possible to keep the concentration of estrogen in the urine high. They are paid based on the concentration not the volume of urine collected.

Every spring, each mare gives birth to a foal. These foals spend the first few months with their mothers and then are rounded up in September to allow their mothers to rejoin the lines. Most of these young horses are then taken to feed lots were they are fattened up and sold for slaughter. The meat is then exported to European and Asian markets for human consumption.

Ollie Bracken a retired Manitoba, Canada PMU farmer, stated in a 1995 interview that he retired from PMU farming because, “When you have to see a colt being born and then have to destroy it, it’s rough because they’re just babies. I just don’t think it was right to continue what I was doing.”

According to a former PMU farmer from New York, “piss farms,” as he called them, were located in New York and Vermont in the early 50s. Urine was collected by Wyeth-Ayerst, a subsidiary of American Home Products in Philadelphia, and taken to Montreal where it was processed into a powdered form and then shipped back to New York to be made into tablets and marketed

Most of the media attention regarding PMU farms has focused primarily on the mass production and slaughter of the foals born to the tens of thousands of mare annually. The heightened European demand for horse meat, due to the effects of mad cow and hoof-and-mouth disease has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of horses slaughtered, and has caused the price of horse meat to go up.

COMMENTS BY BARBARA SEAMAN, C0-FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH NETWORK: Premarin, the most popular variety of hormone replacement therapy, was approved as a menopause treatment by the FDA on May 8, 1942. From 1991 to 1999, it was the best selling drug in the United States. It is now number three, behind Synthroid and Lipitor.

The relationship between Premarin and animal rights presents a valuable model of how industry interests protect themselves on a grand scale without regard to community well being. In her article, “Pissing their Lives Away,” Susan Wagner writes about how Wyeth-Ayerst, the manufacturer of Premarin, has been exploiting and abusing horses for sixty years. Not just a clever name, Premarin is made from PREgnant MARes urINe. While Wagner raises compelling points about the issue of animal abuse, perhaps the most revealing drug company strategy discussed involves Wyeth-Ayerst’s successful blockage of the approval of generic Premarin.

When a drug is approved, drug companies are granted a patent for a limited number of years before other, often smaller, companies are allowed to develop and market generic versions. By the mid 1990’s, the patent on Premarin had sat in expiration for more than 25 years. In 1997, a company called Duramed pharmaceuticals applied for approval of a generic, soy-based, non-animal version of Premarin called Cenestin. Previous to this application, the only condition for generic approval was identical active ingredients. A massive political battle ensued, with Wyeth-Ayerst exerting considerable financial pressure on powerful forces in Washington to intervene on their behalf. The result was the establishment of new, more ambiguous standards for generic drugs, in which testing for total active chemical similarity became the new measuring stick. Since, in 50 years, not all the chemicals in Premarin had been adequately clarified, it would be difficult to determine generic “bio-equivalency.” In rejecting Duramed’s application, the FDA specifically sited the absence of a chemical called DHES as essential to their conclusions. Previously qualified as an “impurity,” DHES was a little understood, animal specific element present in Premarin. Because the role of DHES in Premarin had not been documented, and Cenestin did not contain DHES, FDA argued that generic approval would be impossible, despite the total lack of evidence that DHES has any active properties. Cenestin was approved shortly after as a new drug rather than a generic.

This outrageous triumph of economic and political influence over patient interests is typical of the tactics employed by drug companies to protect and promote their top selling drugs. A generic, non-animal Premarin would be a great thing for HRT consumers. It would provide a lower priced drug for the same results. It would also begin the important process of converting to the consumption of non-animal estrogens. Women continue to pay high prices (around $300 a year), and horses continue to suffer, so that Wyeth Ayerst can continue to reap maximum benefits from a drug that for much of its sixty year history has been one of the top ten drugs in the United States.

Given the new consensus in the scientific community that neither animal nor plant based estrogen may be a healthy choice, perhaps 2002 will prove to be the year when the tide of the estrogen sea turns. If so, perhaps the history of HRT will serve as a model for exposing and controlling corrupt drug company policies. It is a story waiting patiently but imperatively to be told.

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