The market for horse meat has been severely limited since Iceland began participating in the EU-led trade ban against the Russian Federation.
Slaughterhouses have not been able to take in all the available horses slated for becoming meat, Vísir reports, with farmers waiting to get rid of horses they cannot use for any other purpose.
Ágúst Andrésson, the director of meat production company KS, told reporters that the backlog is due primarily to the trade ban between Russia and Iceland. In the past, Russia has been the largest export market for Icelandic horse meat.
“People are working their way into the little domestic market,” he said. “We’ve been looking for other markets, such as Japan, and that could work out. On the other hand, that market won’t be available for all kinds of horse meat, so we need to get back into the Russian market before too long.”
Of the approximately 70,000 horses in Iceland, some 9,300 were slaughtered for meat last year. An increase in the number of living horses will mean a greater demand for domestic hay, which is costly for horse farmers.