An experiment in free-range pig farming will begin at a number of farms in Iceland, with the added bonus that visitors will be allowed to come pet the pigs.
Iceland, like many industrialised nations, does engage in factory farming of livestock. Pig farming is no exception, where the animals are kept indoors and in confined spaces for most of their lives. Last year, media attention to the treatment of animals prompted Hörður Harðarson, head of the Pig Farmers’ Society of Iceland, to go on the defensive, maintaining that Icelandic pig farmers simply cannot afford to treat their animals better.
Apparently, Hörður has changed his tune, as RÚV now reports he has proudly announced the beginning of an experiment in free-range pig farming.
In total, 50 pigs will be sent to four or five farms in Iceland, and 20 pigs have been sent to two farms already. These pigs will be allowed to run around outside, doing what pigs like to do, when the weather is good. This will be an experiment in organic farming as well, Hörður said, where they will be raised and slaughtered in the traditional manner.
Beyond that, part of the goal is to make pigs visible in the Icelandic countryside. The farms will be located in the north, east and south of Iceland, and visitors – both Icelanders and tourists alike – will be welcome to come and take photos, or even pet the pigs if they want.
An assessment will be done later this year to see whether or not free-range pig farming is a viable and profitable option for pig farmers in Iceland.