From Iceland — Icelandic Horse "Blood Farms" Will Be Able To Continue

Icelandic Horse “Blood Farms” Will Be Able To Continue

Published June 2, 2022

Photo by
Edwardwexler/Wikimedia Commons

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture will continue to allow the collection of blood from pregnant mares under strict regulations, reports Visir.

Despite criticisms of the practice, a working group appointed by the Minister of Food and Agriculture recommended that blood collection continue. The working group, created by Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir, was tasked with examining the operation, regulatory framework, supervision, and legislation of collecting blood from pregnant mares.

The report from the task force states that the present legal framework is unclear and unacceptable, especially because the practice is controversial and difficult.

“On the basis of the report, the Minister of Food has decided to issue a regulation on the operation, which will be valid for three years. The regulation will clearly stipulate what conditions the activity must meet and also that the activity is subject to licensing,” reads a statement from the Board of Directors.

While the regulation is in place, the legality can be improved and a special report on the morality and ethics of the practice can be conducted.

“At the same time, the Minister of Food considers it appropriate to propose a special review of the ethical dilemmas associated with the operation,” reads the statement from the Board of Directors.

The regulation will be based on the current conditions set by the Food and Agriculture Organization. However, the group suggests that the conditions be strengthened with the views of stakeholders and others consulted by the task force. There is already a need for better provisions regarding equipment and facilities, monitoring the health status of horses, grooming and temperament assessment, working methods for the blood collection, and internal and external monitoring.

“Therefore, the group considers it necessary that an independent body, such as the Keldur Experimental Station, verify the measurements of the blood economy of the mares, at least temporarily,” reads the statement. “It is also necessary that conditions be established regarding the age range of mares to be blooded, the maximum number of stallions, and the maximum number of horses that may be blooded under the supervision of a veterinarian.”

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