Dioxin levels in livestock may be higher than was initially reported, as hundreds of sheep and cattle have had to be put down due to large amounts of the toxin detected in their meat.
Steingrímur Jónsson, a farmer in Engidalur, Skutulsfjörður, told DV, “It was a blood bath. You can just imagine.” Here he is referring to hundreds of sheep and cattle in the region that have been slaughtered due to dioxin poisoning, originating from a garbage incinerator nearby.
As the Grapevine originally reported, high levels of dioxin – a highly toxic substance used in the herbicide Agent Orange – were originally detected in milk in the West Fjörds. It came to light that the source of the toxin was a nearby garbage incinerator. Since then, similar dioxin emissions were detected in the Westman Islands and Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
While the Minister for the Environment has called for a complete investigation, authorities have maintained that dioxin levels recently discovered in meat were not high enough to cause alarm.
The mass slaughtering of livestock could be a precautionary measure, or it could indicate that there are higher levels of dioxin in the meat than were initially reported.
Steingrímur said that he has been told the land he has been using for his livestock will also need to be “rested”, i.e., not used, for anywhere from five to 100 years, until the dioxin in the soil has been completely broken down.
When asked if he would receive any compensation for the animals he has lost, Steingrímur told DV, “No, no, no. Not the way things are now. I just have a salary for April and beyond that, I have no idea. Such is uncertainty.”