Pig Farmers Cast Doubts On Chief Vet

12.6.2014
Words by Paul Fontaine
A number of Icelandic pig farmers question whether or not the country's top veterinarian is qualified to judge whether or not pigs should be castrated without anaesthetic.

Ólafur Friðriksson, the office manager of the Ministry of Agriculture, would only tell Vísir that they have received a letter from the Pig Farmers' Society of Iceland "on the job of Chief Veterinary Officer", but would not comment further. Iceland's Chief Veterinary Officer Sigurborg Daðadóttir also declined to comment on the matter.

Sources Vísir spoke to, though, say that the letter demands that Sigurborg be deemed unqualified to judge the operations of pig farmers, and that a copy was sent both to the Ministry of Agriculture and to the Icelandic Food And Veterinary Authority.

As reported, Sigurborg raised the issue of pigs being castrated without anaesthetic last month, pointing out that the practice is both cruel and illegal by Icelandic law. Grapevine, amongst other media sources, pointed out the practice three years ago.

This prompted an ultimatum from Sigurborg, giving pig farmers until the end of the year to end the illegal practice. Shortly thereafter, a joint statement was issued by the pig farmers saying that they would stop the practice at once.

Not everyone was on board, however, and many pig farmers have sought to receive an official exemption. But as far as Sigurborg is concerned, "there are no options where this is concerned. They must stop gelding without anaesthetics."

On June 10, local vets around the country will be visiting pig farms to be sure farmers are complying with the law.

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