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Icelandic sheep
Photo: Golli.

Iceland to Permit Limited Home Slaughter This Fall

Home slaughter of lambs will be permitted in Iceland this fall as a pilot project, RÚV reports. Meat from the lambs will be tested to ensure quality and safety standards are met. The project is expected to support innovation in the sheep farming industry and help farmers hold on to more of the profits from their lamb.

The pilot project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, the National Association of Sheep Farmers (Landssamtak sauðfjárbænda), and the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST). Sheep farmers in Iceland are only permitted to slaughter and butcher lambs at home for their own consumption – any lamb that will be sold must be sent to a slaughterhouse. If the farmers then want to sell the meat themselves, they must pay a fee to do so.

Þröstur Heiðar Erlingsson, a sheep farmer in Skagafjörður, North Iceland, is supportive of the project. According to Þröstur, home slaughtering produces better quality meat, as the process is slower and the meat has more time to hang and become tender than in an industrial slaughterhouse. When farmers take their meat home from a slaughterhouse, they also receive neither the skin nor the offal. “We could make ourselves a lot more food out of this if we got to sell it ourselves and process it ourselves,” he stated.

Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Kristján Þór Júlíusson has expressed support for the initiative. The Ministry is ensuring home slaughter regulation can comply with international agreements that Iceland is party to.

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