Reindeer Farm Faces Setback - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reindeer Farm Faces Setback

Published July 11, 2015

Photos by
Paul Fontaine

Government officials have denied a permit for the creation of a reindeer farm, but the would-be founders are hoping to appeal to the Environmental Minister.

Stefán Hrafn Magnússon, a reindeer farmer based in Greenland, and Björn Magnússon, a former farmer with a keen interest in reindeer, filed an application with the Icelandic Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources last July, in the hopes of being able to start a 200-head reindeer farm in east Iceland. While the farm would be raising the animals for meat, it would also serve as a tourist destination.

Unfortunately, the workgroup for the ministry rejected granting a permit, RÚV reports, primarily due to the danger of disease breaking out and spreading across the wild population.

Björn points out that reindeer farms can be found around the world with great success, and that there is nothing in particular about Iceland that would make such a farm a problem.

“We haven’t received any reason as to what makes Iceland so special that Iceland is the only country in the world that bans the creation of a reindeer farm,” he said. “There’s no such answer in the [workgroup] report. Naturally, there are diseases everywhere, and many more overseas, yet reindeer farms work there.”

The pair are not giving up on the idea, but hope to appeal to the Minister for the Environment to overrule the workgroup’s decision and grant them a permit. The ministry has not yet commented on the matter.

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