Many Icelandic horses are on their way to becoming food, as an especially cold year has meant less food for them.
Horse meat is regularly sold in stores in Iceland, often in the form of sausage, meat cubes and steaks. This winter, there will probably be more horse meat available than last year, as a shortage of hay this year means that many more of them will be put down.
Many horse farmers in Skagafjörður are now on a waiting list to have their animals taken to the slaughterhouse KS in Sauðárkrókur. A cold spring and a rainy summer has meant a real lack of hay, and there is not enough to feed all their animals.
Ingimar Ingimarsson, the chairman of the Horse Farms of Skagafjörður, told RÚV, “This isn’t the case with all horse farmers. How much hay they’ve been getting has varied. But there’s been talk that some farmers have had to reduce their livestock, as there hasn’t been enough to feed all their animals.”
While Icelandic horses have been traditionally sought after overseas, selling them off will not be an option for many of farmers, he says. “The recession has had an effect not just here, but also in neighbouring countries. There’s an economic downturn in Iceland, and elsewhere in the world.”