The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) decided yesterday to put down 250 birds which have been held in quarantine since February, Vísir reports. The reason is the importer’s repeated breach of regulations imposed prior to the import of the birds.
The owners of pet store Dýaríkið have been in dispute with MAST for months over the Authority’s ruling the birds would have to be put down or sent out of the country. The reason was the discovery of ticks (ixodes caledonicus) on one of the birds. The pet store owners argued the birds could be treated for the parasite and appealed the decision to MAST and the Ministry of Industries and Innovation. MAST argued there was no guarantee that treatment would be successful.
When MAST authorities arrived at the shop yesterday to put down the birds, Þórarinn Þór, one of the shop’s owners, denied access to the animals and called police and his lawyer to the scene. After a heated debate, the action was postponed to today.
The birds originally numbered 358 but have since decreased by around a third. In a statement released following yesterday’s events, MAST stated that most of the missing birds were not accounted for by the owners, who are required to notify MAST of any animal deaths. Sending the birds out of the country would require certification of their health, which under the conditions cannot be granted, meaning putting down the birds is the only way to prevent the potential spread of disease.