Veterinarians Go On Strike - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Veterinarians Go On Strike

Published April 28, 2015

Anna Manning
Photo by
Ken-Teegardin

Icelandic pig and poultry farmers are expressing their anxiety over the upcoming strike involving veterinarians.

Members of 16 unions are striking at noon on Thursday with further strikes scheduled throughout May. The strike is organised by Starfsgreinasamband Íslands (SGS), which is the largest trade union in Iceland with about 50,000 members.

“This will be very extensive because most companies will be affected to some extent,” said Björn Snæbjörns­son, chairman of SGS.

Veterinarians are normally present at the slaughter of animals, but farmers have been left to thin their stocks using “humanitarian methods” themselves. Exemptions have been made for 50 thousand chickens and 1,000 turkeys, but pig farmers are facing difficulties.

There have been accusations that the strike comes at the expense of the welfare of animals, reports Visír. Charlotta Oddsdóttir, the veterinarians’ spokeswoman denies such claims. “According to the law, the owner of animal or the person who keeps the animal is responsible for their animals’ welfare,” she said. She explained that veterinarians are public employees, but are anxious to protect the animal’s welfare during the collective struggle. “But of course it’s the case that if notifications come in where farmers have real concerns, then all of those cases are looked into.”

But, until the union comes to an agreement with the Ministry of Finance,

No little piggies will go to market,
The veterinarians are staying home.
Icelanders will have to stick to beef,
Until negotiations are done
And the government cries wee, wee, wee, all the way to the unions

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