According to Kristján Þór Júlíusson, the Minister of Agriculture, a milestone was reached yesterday when a new regulation was put into effect. The new regulation enables sheep and goat farmers to slaughter and market their animals themselves.
Medical examination will be required
According to plan, the regulation will already be in use in the coming fall, the traditional slaughtering season in Iceland, when the sheep are sorted in the “réttir”—the traditional sheep round-up—and some slaughtered after their return from roaming free in the countryside.
Before the new regulation, farmers had to bring their sheep to slaughterhouses in order to adhere to hygiene regulations. Hygiene regulations will still be followed. To ensure this, a medical examination of the animals will be required.
According to RÚV, Guðfinna Harpa Árnadóttir, chairwoman of the National Association of Sheep Farmers, welcomes the regulation but says that requirements for medical examinations may be accompanied by problems for those farms that are far from veterinary services.
It has been a long call
Last summer, a pilot project on home slaughter was put into effect. Guðfinna signed an agreement with the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture. The project went well, but remote control was difficult.
The regulation therefore stipulates that public veterinarians carry out health inspections both before and after slaughter, with the costs covered by the state treasury.
Kristján Þór referred to the long call for the new regulation from sheep farmers, saying, “They have fought for themselves and are now reaping the benefits. After a long struggle.” According to Vísir, several farmers have expressed an interest in taking advantage of this opportunity to improve their livelihoods and to create a new existence for themselves.
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