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Blood farms: european monitoring finds that Iceland is violating the regulations for the production of PMSG


ESA, (EFTA Supervisory Authority) the supervisory body of EFTA (European Free Trade Association), has given its verdict on the complaint lodged by a coalition of European animal welfare associations, IHP among them representing Italy, and has declared that Iceland is violating the European standards in their production of the hormone PMSG, in their infamous “blood factories”, where pregnant mares are quite literally tortured in order to provide the pharma industry with drugs used by intensive farming operations.

As a member of EFTA, Iceland is bound by law to follow the regulations of the EEA (European Economic Area), the majority of which are aligned with the equivalent EU regulations. In the official Allegation presented by the European animal welfare associations it was emphatically claimed that Iceland does not apply European law correctly in the context of animals used for scientific research. And in particular, Iceland does not respect the Community Principle of the three Rs (Replace, Reduce, Refine) according to which, wherever possible, experiments on animals should be substituted by alternative methods.

The animal welfare organisations have documented that for the production of the hormone PMSG – which is subsequently used to produce drugs to be administered in intensive meat farms in order to maximise production – mares in Iceland are subjected to violence, injuries and repeated trauma.  Furthermore, the amount of blood collected – five litres per week – exceeds any existing international recommendation.

Alternatives to PMSG do already exist, and therefore the European law of 3R can be respected: meat producers can rely on a range of methods without use of hormones, and on legal, synthetic drugs. On this basis, the animal welfare associations sent their complaint to ESA, asking also that Iceland be obliged to apply EU law correctly. ESA agreed with the associations, headed by Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich (AWF/TSB) and Eurogroup for Animals.

Not before time, the authorities are beginning to intervene on the basis of our complaints and documentation,” comments Sonny Richichi, President of IHP. “We have not forgotten that, in November 2021, during a plenary session, the European Parliament requested that the European Commission ban the production PMSG and its importation into Europe….but nothing at all has been done about this. It is a positive thing that ESA has intervened and we hope that this will lead to the concrete result of an end to blood factories.”