According to the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) hormone extraction from pregnant horses “is a business worth millions, which has delivered high profits for about 40 years.”
Iceland is under growing pressure to shut down its blood farms that exploit pregnant horses.
It is one of only three countries in the world that allow farmers to extract blood from pregnant mares.
There are about 119 blood farms in the country, and more than 5000 horses from a total of 80,000 are used as ‘blood mares’.
Production of the hormone called Pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) is a “big business” in Iceland. It has existed for around 40 years and has been growing considerably in the past decade.
The blood farming business involves extracting the hormone from pregnant mares as it is claimed to induce superovulation, produce larger litter sizes, and facilitate earlier puberty in cows, sheep and goats as well as pigs.
There is only one pharmaceutical company in Iceland trading in PMSG – Isteka ehf.
The company acquires the mares’ blood from independent farms. It is converted to PMSG powder and sold to pharmaceutical companies abroad.
According to the NGO Eurogroup for Animals, around five liters of blood is taken from pregnant horses every week in Iceland.
Furthermore, because the hormone can only be extracted during early pregnancy, the foals are aborted so that the mares can be impregnated twice a year, further adding to their suffering.
When the mares do give birth, their foals are often sent to the slaughterhouse.
Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) on its website states that “it is a business worth million, which has delivered high profits for about 40 years.”
Animal welfare concerns
While extracting blood is bad enough in itself, animal activists have also raised voices regarding the wellbeing of the mares after undercover investigations have shown distressed horses being hit and struggling in restraint boxes whilst blood was drawn using a large cannula inserted in their jugular vein.
Other pieces of evidences collected by AWF and Tierschutzbund Zürich revealed how the semi-wild horses are subjected to violence, risk numerous injuries, and suffer from repeated trauma on Icelandic blood farms.
Seeing the footage, the European Commission declared it was “seriously concerned” about the treatment of horses farmed for blood.
In March, Eurogroup for Animals, along with 16 animal protection organisations, filed a complaint with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority regarding blood farms in Iceland.
They complained that Iceland does not properly apply its legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.
The European parliament has also called for a ban on PMSG import and production.
The ban is supported by Icelanders, who were by and large unaware of these cruel blood farms. When the Guardian spoke to some of the natives, they said they had little knowledge of them until last November, when the Animal Welfare Foundation undercover video was shown on television. A survey in December found most of the population opposed to the blood farms.
“I didn’t have a clue we were doing this here and I was shocked when I saw it,” Bjarnheiður Hallsdóttir, chair of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association told the news outlet.
“It [is] awful.”
Share this story: Iceland under pressure to ban blood farms exploiting pregnant horses.
Vegan culture, food, beauty & more
Vegan Nottingham student creates budget-friendly oat milk machine to reduce carbon footprint and combat rising prices
- Mohsina Dodhiya
- 30th May 2023
The invention is sustainable and cost-effective. A vegan undergraduate studying product design at Nottingham Trent University has developed a container that can help people create their own oat milk at home for just 20 pence per litre. “Oatilicious,” provides significant cost savings compared to store-bought oat milk for up to £2.20 per carton. The innovative …
Continue reading “Vegan Nottingham student creates budget-friendly oat milk machine to reduce carbon footprint and combat rising prices”
Bear Grylls ’embarrassed’ by past vegan diet promotes meat, blood, and bone marrow for better health
- Mohsina Dodhiya
- 15th May 2023
“I’ve tried to listen to my body more, tried to listen to nature, and I don’t miss vegetables at all. I don’t go near them, and I’ve never felt stronger, my skin’s never been better, and my gut’s never been better.” Adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls has become a die-hard carnivore fan after admitting …
Continue reading “Bear Grylls ’embarrassed’ by past vegan diet promotes meat, blood, and bone marrow for better health”
NEED A LAUGH?
All the quizzes you love to binge!
QUIZ: If you score 11/12 on this quiz, you’re a verified vegan food expert
- Marlon Farrugia
- 10th January 2020
How much vegan knowledge do you have stored away? Do you have to Google your way through a shopping trip, or do you have all the bad E-numbers memorised? Find out now with this quiz. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and …
Continue reading “QUIZ: If you score 11/12 on this quiz, you’re a verified vegan food expert”
QUIZ: What is your perfect Vegan Halloween Costume?
- Marlon Farrugia
- 13th October 2019
Spook Season approaches. There will be ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and glucose. You need a costume, and you want to it to show off your personality, which means VEGAN. But what to choose? Take our quiz to find out your perfect outfit. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a …
Continue reading “QUIZ: What is your perfect Vegan Halloween Costume?”
QUIZ: What kind of vegetable are you?
- Marlon Farrugia
- 26th September 2019
“If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be?” A question that has tormented humanity throughout the ages – until now. Read: QUIZ: If you score 19/20 on THIS quiz, you’re a Vegan God Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and …