Icelandic pig farms have reportedly made a number of significant improvements to the conditions in which pigs live, but there is still a ways to go.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has issued a new report on the results of a countrywide survey they conducted of Icelandic pig farms. These results show a marked improvement from last year.
According to their findings, on only one farm are pigs still be gelded without anesthetic, and this farm was issued an order to stop the practice at once. However, eight farms were still cropping pigs’ tails – which is done to keep them from biting each others’ tails when they get stressed from cramped conditions – without anesthetic.
Five pig farms now let their pig roam relatively free, and five pig farms only kept pigs in stalls for short periods of time. At the same time, four farms keep their pigs in stalls continuously, although one of them had a free-range sty, and another hopes to let their pigs wander free by the end of this summer. Pressure wounds, caused by a lack of free movement, were also less apparent than during previous inspections.
As reported, Iceland’s pig farms came under considerable scrutiny last year. Amongst the findings MAST made at the time was that every single farm they visited had pigs suffering from pressure sores, induced by being confined to a cramped space without the ability to move for extended periods of time, and a large portion of these farms did keep their animals in cramped stalls. Tail cropping, while illegal in Iceland, was widespread, and gelding pigs without anesthetic was commonplace.