Gathering Ban Exemption Requested for Annual Sheep Roundup Skip to content

Gathering Ban Exemption Requested for Annual Sheep Roundup

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Dagmar Trodler.

The committee overseeing the sheep roundup in the West Iceland municipality of Borgarbyggð has applied for an exemption to the gathering ban rule for this year’s réttir, RÚV reports. The committee is requesting that 150 be allowed to participate in each farm’s roundup. Under current gathering restrictions, no more than 100 people would be permitted to take part.

In their letter requesting the exemption, the roundup committee argued that increasing the number of people taking part in the réttir would speed up the process significantly, which would make a big difference in terms of the animals’ welfare.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting safety measures have had no less an effect on the sheep roundup this year than it has on all other annual traditions and festivities. The National Association of Sheep Farmers has encouraged roundup participants to observe a “two-sheep rule” when gathering in the animals, a tongue-in-cheek reminder about the importance of maintaining two-metres of distance from one another.

Iceland’s Civil Defense Department has moreover issued specific COVID guidelines for this year’s roundup, such as recommending that everyone who takes part download the contact tracing app and that no alcohol be consumed. Any farms that cannot guarantee that social distancing or gathering regulations will be observed during their roundup must apply for an official exemption.

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