17. March 2015

Uruguay | Treinta y Tres | Farm of Syntex | Blood farms for hormone production

[Translate to English:] Eine dünne Stute und ihr Fohlen auf einer Waldlichtung.

[Translate to English:] Eine trächtige Stute und ihr Fohlen im Eukalyptuswald.

At 15:15, we arrive in the small village Valentines in the Department of Treinta y Tres and ask around for the farm of Syntex. People have never heard of this company, but say that this must be the farm of Rubio where they take blood from mares (Federico Rubio is indeed the owner of Syntex Uruguay SA). People say that the estancia is called “El Yatay” and explain us how to get there.

On the road, we find a sign according to which the land rented to Syntex belongs to the forestry company Taurion SA. For the forest owners it is a good deal. The mares keep the underbrush low. For the blood farmers it is an ideal hiding place, impossible to control.

At 16:00, we arrive at the farmhouse with the inscription “El Yatay” on the wall. In the eucalyptus forest near the farm we notice a group of mares without foals. Some of these mares are thin and their ribs clearly visible. At another place in the tree plantation, we find a group of mares with foals. These mares appear to be pregnant again. We notice that one of the foals has quite a large flesh-wound on his right hind leg, which looks untreated.

From a worker we learn that Syntex currently keeps 3.600 mares at different locations on a total of 1.600 hectares, mostly in plantation forests. He says that at this farm, they do not take blood; the laboratories are at the estancia “Loma Azul” in Florida. The mares are sent in groups from here to “Loma Azul”, where they stay for five months. After the blood extraction, the mares are brought back to this farm. He further explains that Syntex breeds their own horses at this farm, but in addition also buy female foals that they rear and later send to “Loma Azul”.