Blood mares in Iceland – Statement by the Icelandic animal welfare group SDÍ / Animal Welfare Iceland

November 21 2022 | General

It is now one year that disturbing images from Iceland, pictures taken by the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) and Tierschutzbund Zürich (TSB) showed frightened Icelandic mares while a disproportionate amount of blood was drawn from them.

Following the release of the film footage, Samtök um dýravelferð á Íslandi (SDÍ) / Animal Welfare Iceland was formed as new Icelandic animal welfare association to focus on the issue of blood mares. The animal welfare associations (SDÍ), Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich, the Association of Horse Trainers (FT) and the National Association of Icelandic Equestrian Clubs (LH) were all in favor of a ban on the blood mare industry. The Association of Icelandic Veterinarians called for a comprehensive, independent, scientifically-based and publicly available blood count study to ensure that pregnant mares would not be harmed by repeated blood loss. But obviously the pressure from the industry was too strong and there are hardly any improvements to the situation, neither the amount of blood drawn nor the control mechanisms were changed.

What’s next?

The animal welfare group SDÍ will continue to press for the protection of blood mares and will plead for the abolition of this trade. An appeal that has been handed to the ministry stating the obligation to ensure the mares’ health and wellbeing which was endorsed by more than 30 Icelandic veterinarians and medical doctors has not yet been commented by the ministry.

FEIF condems the practices and the mistreatment of mares on blood farms and supports the approach of the animal welfare associations. FEIF will continue using every possibility to stress our position on the production of PSMG to stop the import and domestic production of PMSG and support any action taken by the Icelandic authorities and welfare organisations to stop this procedure in Iceland completely.