MAST Files Complaints Against Tourists’ Dog Imports to Iceland

traditional farm iceland

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has reported three cases of illegal dog importation by tourists in aeroplane passenger cabins to the police. A previously undetected parasite was found in one of the dogs during a health inspection.

A previously undetected parasite

As noted on its website, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has filed three complaints with the police regarding the illegal importation of dogs.

These incidents involve three separate cases where tourists contravened animal importation laws by bringing their dogs into the country in the passenger cabins of aeroplanes. The transportation of the dogs into the country was not discovered until MAST received a notification from authorities at the Keflavík International Airport as the travellers checked in for their flights out of the country after a few days’ stay with their dogs.

MAST did not permit departure until the dogs had undergone a health inspection and sampling at the owners’ expense. In one of the cases, a parasite not previously detected in the country was identified. According to MAST, the dog had no contact with other animals during its stay in the country, and due to the cold weather conditions, MAST believes it is unlikely that any worms/eggs would have survived if the owner had not cleaned up after the dog.

“Under the laws governing the importation of animals, it is forbidden to bring any kind of animals and their genetic material into the country. The reason for this ban is to protect the existing animals in the country as well as people from infectious diseases and parasites that may be introduced with the importation of animals. Exemptions from this ban are only permitted under strict conditions and with a special permit from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. The laws state that a monetary fine will be imposed for violations of these provisions.”

Violations taken seriously

As noted on its website, MAST takes the illegal importation of animals very seriously, given the strict regulations in place due to the risk of introducing animal diseases, and has referred these cases to the police.

The aim of a recent amendment to the regulation on the importation of dogs and cats – which now prohibits the transportation of those animals in the passenger cabin of aeroplanes – is to prevent such illegal imports of animals where passengers could previously transport their pets undetected on flights to Iceland and through Keflavík International Airport.

Recent Halt in Domestic French Fry Production Raises Questions Concerning Tariffs

import tariff iceland french fries

When Icelandic frozen- and ready-made food company Þykkvabæjar stopped producing french fries earlier this summer, they were the last remaining producer of the popular side dish in Iceland.

Now, with no domestic producers left, all french fries in Iceland must be imported. The lack of domestic production, however, has raised questions over what, exactly, protectionist tariffs are protecting.

In a recent report by the National Association of Employers, it came to light that Icelandic consumers have paid a total of ISK 800 million in french fry tariffs in the past two and a half years.

Those imported from Canada and the EU are taxed at a rate of 46%, and french fries from elsewhere are taxed at a much higher 76%. Given the growing share of the tourism and service industries, this cost is not trivial.

The National Association of Employers has petitioned the Minister of Finance to repeal the tariffs, stating that they no longer protect anything and only hurt the consumer.

Ólafur Stephensen, managing director of the National Association of Employers, has cited the french fry tariff as one more unnecessary burden. During a time of high inflation, he stated, such burdens should be minimized as far as possible: “These numbers clearly show that there is a lot at stake for Icelandic consumers, the trade and the restaurant sector to abolish this protectionist tariff that no longer protects anything. The duties amount to 300-400 million per year and at a time when food prices are constantly rising, such sums make a difference.”

Ólafur, along with other consumer-advocacy groups, has since called on the Minister of Finance to repeal the tariff.