Pig Farmers React To Criticism - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Pig Farmers React To Criticism

Published October 6, 2015

Photos by
Stephen Fulljames/Wikimedia Commons

Icelandic pig farmers are reportedly “afraid” after public outcry recently arose over conditions and practices at some pig farms.

The Icelandic Food And Veterinary Authority (MAST) has recently put Icelandic pig farmers under a great deal of public scrutiny, as it was found there was not a single farm where there was not at least one pig suffering from pressure sores. Photos from a still-unnamed pig farm showing pigs in stalls so small they cannot even stand up have also fueled public outcry.

“I don’t think there’s any need to talk about those photos,” pig farmer Ingvi Stefánsson told RÚV. “They speak for themselves, and they are unacceptable, as these pictures are the ugliest. But fortunately, they show the exception rather than the norm where conditions of pig farms are concerned.” He added that pig farmers he knew have been “afraid” as a result of the public response to the recent reporting.

Tail cropping, despite being illegal in Iceland, is nonetheless widespread. Only one farm MAST visited did not engage in the practice. Pigs have their tails cropped because in cramped quarters, pigs are known to get stressed and chew on the tails of other pigs.

“The situation with tail cropping is of course not good enough,” Ingvi said. “I have personally repeatedly tried to stop it, but it hasn’t worked out well for me.”

Every pig farmer RÚV contacted refused to allow any photography at their farms, with Ingvi being the sole exception. When asked if reporters could expect to see acceptable conditions on Ingvi’s farm, he was frank in his response:

“Well, if we’re talking about the new laws and regulations then no. I’m using stalls. So what was considered acceptable maybe six or seven years ago isn’t considered acceptable today.”

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