Iceland is being urged to ban ‘blood farms,’ an extremely cruel practice that extracts blood to obtain hormones from pregnant horses.

Source: Raleigh Link/Youtube

These hormones are taken from pregnant horses and used to increase reproduction in pigs, cows, and other female farmed animals. The hormone is used across the UK and Europe, but animal rights activists have been fighting for a ban for years. 

Undercover footage taken at an Iceland ‘blood farm’ by Animal Welfare Foundation revealed horses being hit and struggling in restraint boxes while workers draw blood using a large cannula that is inserted into their jugular vein. The footage also shows broken restraint boxes and enclosures covered in bite marks from the terrified and distressed horses. 

Source: Animal Welfare Foundation / Tierschutzbund Zürich/Youtube

The hormone, Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), is taken from pregnant horses in Iceland during the summer at ‘blood farms.’ The product is then converted into powder and shipped around the world. The Guardian reported that Iceland is home to 80,000 Icelandic horses, 5,383 of which are used for the hormone in the 119 blood farms currently operating in the country. 

Isteka, a pharmaceutical company that owns or subcontracts farms, said that five liters of blood are taken from the pregnant horses every week for eight weeks. This is four times the amount that is specified by international guidelines, The Guardian reported. 

The European parliament has called for the ban on imports of the hormone, but that has yet to happen. At the end of March, a group of 17 international NGOs submitted a complaint against Iceland, which accused the country of breaking European Economic Area (EEA) law on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. They called for Icelandic authorities to ban the inhumane blood collection. 

“I would like people to know that Iceland is actually stabbing semi-wild pregnant mares, taking their blood in extreme volumes and frequency, just to … make pigs have more pigs,” Rósa Líf Darradóttir, a doctor and horse owner in Reykjavik, told The Guardian.

These poor horses are being exploited, abused, and killed just to make our farmed animals have more animals? There is a bigger problem at hand, and it’s the way that we are unnaturally breeding animals on factory farms. There is no reason that these pregnant mares need to suffer to make pigs reproduce faster just for them to be slaughtered after a short and traumatizing life. A majority of Iceland supports the ban on the practice, and a bill is making its way through parliament to call for the ban and is just awaiting a vote.

Sign this petition to ban horse blood farms!

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