An inspection of Icelandic pig farms, done last year by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), shows that in some cases sows are kept in such narrow stalls that they can’t stretch their legs, RÚV reports.
“Obviously, this goes against animal welfare laws,” comments a veterinarian who works for MAST. “This animal can’t move or rest naturally. Anyone who has tried lying for a long time without stretching knows that doesn’t give you adequate rest.”
Pictures from the pig farms in question were shown on RÚV TV news last night. MAST refuses to reveal where the photos were taken, citing privacy law. Þóra Jónsdóttir, animal welfare veterinarian at MAST, says such conditions are fortunately not common.
This report comes on the heels of other news regarding animal welfare.
RÚV reported last week that pressure ulcers were discovered on sows at every pig farm visited by MAST last year. Pigs in Iceland are more commonly kept in stalls than in other countries, although a new regulation bans the use of stalls, except during the mating period and farrowing. Pig farmers, however, have up to ten years to adjust to the regulation.
Last year, MAST inspected nine out of the country’s 11 pig farms which have sows, and found 15-50 percent of the sows on each farm to have pressure ulcers.
MAST also criticized the treatment of cattle at 29 cattle farms last year, mostly for the treatment of calves and young bulls. The criticism was mainly regarding overcrowding, wetness, mud and dirt. Overcrowding prevented smaller cattle from reaching adequate feed.
Finally, MAST found that every fifth chicken examined at a slaughterhouse in Southwest Iceland last year had scalded feet. Overcrowding and wet floors were said to be the reason.