Minister of Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson told reporters he sees no reason to put an immediate end to the illegal practice of castrating pigs without anaesthetic. The Animal Protection Association of Iceland has called upon a boycott of Icelandic pork until the practice is halted.
The minister told RUV that “I believe that this is being worked on in a natural fashion, with common sense, as quickly as possible.”
Reporters pointed out to the minister that, as of last January 1, it has been forbidden by Icelandic law to perform painful operations on animals without local or general anaesthetics.
“It could be that the legislation didn’t listen to the voice of reason,” the minister replied. “We can’t just do things one-two-three. But we’re working on it.”
The Animal Protection Association of Iceland has, in turn, called upon the general public to boycott the purchase of Icelandic pork until the practice is ended. However, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority does not believe the situation calls for public pressure, including filing animal abuse charges against pig farmers.
As reported, 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.