The production of horse meat increased extensively in Iceland last year, from 878 to 1,500 tons—by 71 percent, with exports almost tripling between 2011 and 2012, from 311.7 to 875.6 tons—by 180.9 percent. Domestic sales increased by 23.3 percent in the same period.
“Most of the meat goes to markets abroad, except maybe the foal meat,” Hulda Geirsdóttir, manager of the Horse Breeders’ Association of Iceland, told Fréttablaðið. According to her, the meat mainly goes to Russia, Italy, Switzerland and France, where there is tradition for eating horse.
Hulda stated that the reason for the vast increase in production and sale of horse meat is the high cost of keeping riding horses and growing demand for horse meat.
Few farmers breed horses specifically for meat production, she added, but the meat is a good byproduct as slaughtering horses is necessary for maintaining quality when breeding riding horses.
In other news, following the horse meat scandal in Europe, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority has taken samples from ground beef on the Icelandic market to determine whether it contains horse meat even though the labeling indicates otherwise, as reported on the institute’s website last week.