Pig farmers in Iceland have until the end of the year to stop castrating pigs without anaesthetic, even though the practice is already illegal.
Chief Veterinary Officer Sigurborg Daðadóttir told RÚV that gelding animals without anaesthetic causes great pain, and is in fact already illegal in Iceland. Although many pig farmers have sought to receive an official exemption, “there are no options where this is concerned. They must stop gelding without anaesthetics.”
Hörður Harðarson, head of the Pig Farmers’ Society of Iceland, said that to the best of his knowledge no pig farmers in Iceland have started using anaesthetics for the practice, but that they are committed to obeying animal welfare law.
Sigurborg believes pig farmers need a period of adjustment to stop the practice, and has given them until the end of the year. However, as the Grapevine reported, pig farmers have been aware of the illegality of anaesthetic-free castration for at least the past three years now.
Factory farming is a fact in Iceland, and applies to pigs, chickens (both for meat and eggs), beef and even lamb. The EU has its own set of regulations with regards to the treatment of livestock and, as Iceland is a part of a trade agreement with the EU, must abide these regulations.