Scandal in Iceland: animal associations denounced the use of horse blood in the manufacture of certain medicines, in a filmed investigation published on Monday.
These associations reveal that Iceland is one of three countries in the world to allow farms exploiting horse blood, showing violent abuse at farms in the country.
Practices “seem to go against the working conditions of the operation, which aims to ensure the welfare of the mares“, Icelandic veterinary authorities said in a statement, saying they are taking the case”very seriously“.
In their 20-minute video posted on Youtube, animal rights associations Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich, staff appear, brutalizing weakened and severely beaten mares and horses.
The video, titled “Iceland, land of 5,000 blood mares“, shows images of blood collection from live mares, a controversial practice that Iceland is the only one in Europe to carry out.
The videos were shot between 2019 and 2021, according to the associations.
Along with Argentina and Uruguay, the Nordic island is one of the three countries in the world where these “blood farms“exist, with more than a hundred farms.
The purpose of these farms is to collect the blood of pregnant mares and collect the hormone ecG (equine chorionic gonadotropin) produced by the placenta.
This hormone is used by the pharmaceutical industry to improve reproduction in pigs, dairy cows, sheep, beef cows and goats.
In the Nordic country, blood collection in a growing industry is the responsibility of the biotechnology company Ísteka ehf, which uses the product. But veterinarians take care of the blood samples on his behalf.
Almost 5,400 mares have been used for these purposes this year on 119 farms, according to the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. According to her, about 40% of farms are visited annually.
“If serious deviations are discovered during the inspection, the operation is immediately stopped. In total, five farms have been suspended from their activities since 2014“, specified the authority.