PETITION TARGETS: European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority; World Trade Organization; Iceland’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries; Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST); University of Iceland’s Centre for Ethics; Ísteka
Pregnant mares are being trapped in restraints and then drained of their blood at controversial “blood farms” in Iceland — all to extract a fertility hormone to make other, already-miserable farmed animals produce an unnatural volume of babies.
Iceland had more than 100 blood farms as of 2021 that were bleeding close to 5,400 “blood mares” — pregnant females who were led into stalls, immobilized with planks around their feet and a halter holding up their heads, and then bled through tubes stuck into their jugular veins.
Blood farmers drained five liters of blood from each mare each week for eight consecutive weeks — adding up to the equivalent of 12 gallons of blood, according to news reports. The hormone is then extracted and processed into a powder by a sole company before it’s shipped to farms where it’s used to increase the reproduction rates of cows, pigs, and other farmed animals.
In addition to the inherent cruelty of this procedure, undercover footage also documented abuse to the mares, including mares weakened from this extraction collapsing in their halters and horses being hit and shouted at by the blood farmers.
Adding another layer of cruelty, the mares’ foals also are reportedly slaughtered or often aborted and the mares impregnated again as soon as possible, according to news reports — creating a never-ending cycle of violence and trauma.
Meanwhile, the blood farmers annually can rake in up to 10 million Icelandic kronur — the equivalent of about €70,000, or about USD$77,000 — from these horrific acts.
While blood farms have existed in Iceland for the past four decades, the public just recently became aware of these operations — and they overwhelmingly do not support this cruelty. Meanwhile, authorities who promised action have only issued paltry changes that will not stop the suffering.
It’s time for this cruel bleeding to be permanently banned!
Sign our petition urging Iceland’s authorities, international stakeholders, and the business processing the mares’ blood to stand up for Iceland’s horses and stop this abhorrent cruelty!