The National Audit Office will begin an evaluation of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) animal welfare oversight, reports RÚV. The decision follows, among other things, reports that the desperate condition of some 20 horses in Borgarnes was reported to MAST without immediate action being taken.
in a desperate situation
On Wednesday, news broke that nearly 20 emaciated horses had been kept indoors all summer at Borgarnes stables. The horse’s condition was described as “hopeless”.
Steinunn Árnadóttir – who also has horses in the area – told RÚV on Wednesday that officials had filed multiple complaints with the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), but no action was taken. claimed.
“They are emaciated. They can’t go outside. They don’t see the sun. They’ve been robbed of green grass. I’ve been home ever since.”
Following these reports, horse owners who did not respond to requests for interviews from RÚV and other outlets removed their horses from their stables under cover of night. RÚV reported that the person in question, who also has sheep and cattle elsewhere in Borgarnes, displayed threatening behavior towards other residents.
The Icelandic Animal Welfare Society then issued an official statement calling on MAST to take action. MAST has the statutory authority to respond to such complaints without undue delay…there is clearly a need for a thorough review of the agency’s supervisory role. ”
Evaluation will start
RÚV reported this morning that the National Audit Office will begin a formal review of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority’s animal welfare oversight. The results of the evaluation will be made public as a report to Congress.
Guðmundur Björgvin Helgason, National Auditor’s Office Inspector, said it was an excellent time to evaluate the MAST protocol, especially in light of reports of emaciated horses in Borgarnes.
Guðmundur said MAST’s management profiling took place in 2013, the year that animal welfare oversight was transferred from the Ministry of the Environment to MAST. “So he never had contact with these set of issues within MAST before.”
The National Audit Office’s decision to initiate the evaluation was spurred, in part, by several recent cases in which MAST’s oversight role was criticized. “That’s why we felt it was the right time to review their roles. If any issues arise with regards to overseeing MAST, we want to clarify them further.”
The aforementioned Steinunn Árnadóttir, who owns horses at Borgarnes, spoke to Vísir again today and said that the mare and her mare are still kept in the aforementioned stables at Borgarnes, deprived of sunlight. According to Steinunn, the owners were forced to release malnourished and desperate horses into pasture, while for some reason the mares and mares remained inside the stables.