Success! Iceland’s horrific blood farms, where pregnant mares are forced to give their blood to extract a hormone called Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), could soon be a thing of the past. The complaint filed by Animals’ Angels and their EU partner organizations with the European Free Trade Association’s (EFTA) Surveillance Authority (ESA) was successful and ESA ruled that Iceland is in breach of the EU protection regulations dealing with animals used for scientific purposes.
As a member of the European Free Trade Association Iceland is forced to comply with the rules of the European Economic Area and our complaint argued that – based on the findings from undercover investigations carried out by Animal Welfare Foundation at the blood farms – Iceland did violate this requirement.
Specifically, the complaint stated that the extraction of blood for PMSG production should not be approved by Icelandic authorities as it goes against the principle set forth in the applicable EU Directive that animal experiments have to be replaced by alternative methods that do not involve live animals, whenever such an alternative is available. In this case, it is: Several synthetic medical products do exist.
“We are very pleased with the ESA decision”, said Sonja Meadows, President of Animals’ Angels, “the cruel practice of blood farming needs to end. The mares trapped in this predatory industry suffer greatly and are exposed to violent behavior & poor conditions. The repeated trauma of excessive blood extraction (Iceland’s farmers can draw up to 5 liters/week) leaves a significant toll on the semi-wild horses”.
After ESA made their decision, they sent a letter of formal notice to Iceland, which is the first step in an infringement procedure against an EEA EFTA State. The Icelandic Government now has two months to react before ESA decides whether to take the case further.
Animals’ Angels is calling upon Iceland to end this horrific practice and renews its plea to the European Commission to also propose a ban of PMSG in the EU.