Animal Abuse Goes Unreported Skip to content

Animal Abuse Goes Unreported

By Iceland Review

A number of people witnessed an incident of animal abuse during a sheep roundup in Öxnadalur in mid-September, RÚV reports. Yet, no one has stepped forward to report it. Therefore, there is nothing the district veterinarian or police can do to react.

Sheep were being rounded up for the Hörgársveit district when the incident occurred, and the whole herd of sheep had crossed the Ring Road, except for one lamb, which was exhausted. Instead of carrying the lamb across the road, or place it in a car, the shepherd threw it into the air, before kicking it and stepping on its throat. Witnesses were shocked.

Later that same day, a paralyzed lamb was found in Þverárrétt pen. The district vet asked to be allowed to put it down and perform an autopsy. The owner refused and put the lamb down himself and, according to RÚV, he disposed of the carcass in a special container. Thus, there is no proof that this was the same lamb as the one which suffered the abuse.

According to, it appears most people in the district are aware of the incident. The owner of the lamb refused to comment.

Ólafur Jónsson, district veterinarian in Akureyri, confirmed he is aware of the incident, but since the lamb’s carcass wasn’t sent to him and no one reported the incident to the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, his hands are tied. Still, he stated the case is not closed.

Council Chairman Axel Grettisson, in Hörgársveit district, reported that the shepherd suspected of the animal abuse would not be paid by the district for his work at the roundups that day. Axel reports he was told that pictures and videos of the abuse exist. He encourages witnesses to turn such evidence in to police and report the incident.

Svavar Halldórsson, head of the Sheep Farmers’ Association, commented, “We condemn animal abuse, and there are strict regulations that exist. Based on descriptions, this is a violation of existing laws and regulations.”

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority asks witnesses to the abuse to step forward. The incident can also be reported directly to the police.

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