Veterinarians will conduct their health inspections of meat over the internet as part of the new pilot project which allows farmers to slaughter at home, RÚV reports. The project is hoped to support innovation in the sheep farming industry and help farmers hold on to more of the profits from their lamb. Thirty-five farms around the country are taking part in the project. Each farm is allowed to slaughter five lambs at home.
Farmers have long called for changes to made to existing laws on home slaughter. Currently, farmers who sell meat must take their sheep to a slaughterhouse and then pay fees if they want to sell their products to the public.
In addition, current regulations require a veterinarian to inspect any meat that intended for sale to the general public. Project manager Hólmfríður Sveinsdóttir says that one of the first things that needs to be done, therefore, is to determine if there’s a way for this inspection to take place remotely, as bringing a vet on-site can be costly for farmers. Online meat inspection has been carried out with varying degrees of success abroad, and there are many factors that determine how well this process works, such as the quality of the internet connection and the cameras being used.
As part of the pilot program, 19 of the participating farms will have a vet visit them to conduct on-site inspections. Sixteen will have their health inspections conducted online. Hólmfríður says that the inspection process will be the same in both cases—one will simply take place virtually. Farmers undergoing virtual inspections will take samples themselves, measuring the microbial and pH levels in the meat.
These individuals will also be responsible for ensuring that byproducts are handled correctly. Burying slaughter byproducts directly in the ground is forbidden. As the home slaughter only involves lamb, Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority has stated that farmers can take their byproducts to a carcass dumpster that each municipality is required to have.
Authorities will decide how to proceed with home slaughter based on the results of this pilot effort.