Beef Shortage Strikes Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Beef Shortage Strikes Iceland

Published July 23, 2015

Photos by
Alpha/Creative Commons

The ongoing veterinarians strike has led to a shortage of beef in Iceland. Supply is falling short of demand by thousands of tonnes.

MBL reports that Bald­ur Helgi Benja­míns­son, the managing director of the National Association of Cattle Farmers, believes that domestic production of beef needs to increase by 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes in order to meet public demand for beef. The explanation behind the shortage: the ongoing veterinarians strike.

Vets play a crucial role, not just in meat production in Iceland, but also in meat inspection of imported products. With the country’s vets on strike, farmers are greatly limited in terms of how much cattle they may slaughter and distribute for consumption. The strike has led to a drop of 230 tonnes of imported beef in the first five months of the year, when compared to the year previous. In fact, Baldur says, no cattle were slaughtered between April 23 and June 15, in large part because of the strike.

The vet’s strike has touched on other industries as well. KFC experienced a chicken shortage last May, and pork production was also affected. In fact, the only meat industry left unscathed by the vet’s strike has been whale – an unpopular choice, as less than 2% of the population eat whale regularly.

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