Horse meat

2010 2011
Export of horses 
(Information from Worldfeng. Orgin pedigree Icelandic horse)
1158 1136
Production of horse meat (t) 799 878
Horse meat sold domestically (t) 541 499
Horse meat sold abroad  (t) 292 312


The history of the Icelandic horse is interwoven history of the nation and can be traced back to the settlemen in the tenth century. The viking settle dwon in Iceland and brough livestock from Europe including their best horses from various orgin. Although the origin of the horse had been mixed genger it can be said that it is one of the most purebred horse in the world because of its isolation. The Icelandic horse has not be mixed with other genders for a thousand years and still today there is only one horse gender in Iceland – the Icelandic horse.


Dressing of horse carcasses in Iceland

  • Head removed from first vertebrae.
  • Feet removed at the knee joint.
  • Flay so the carcass membrane remains the most complete.
  • No bile contamination, hair or other dirt on the carcass.
  • Udder or testes are removed along with fat around.
  • Penis removed at the base behind the pubic bone.
  • Fat neck removed.
  • Diaphragm removed.
  • Kidney removed along with fat and clots from the thorax.
  • Blood vessels with fat within the loin are removed.
  • Solid fat on the ribs and between the ribs are left intact.
  • Glands, particles and clots at the thorax opening are removed.
  • Blood vessels and blood livers in neck removed.
  • Carcass split lengthwise after middle of the spinal column.
  • Muscles on either side of the spine impair.
  • Spinal cord removed.

According to regulation number 882/2010, 4. gr. flank and sides shall be removed (pistola cut) from all horse meat before weight-in unless specifically negotiated are made for alternative division in quarters.

Requirements from the Food and Veterinary authorities on pistola cut on foal- and carcasses are such:

  • A: Forequarter cut across between 8. and 9. Rib.
  • B: Flank and side shall be cut off without cutting the leg muscle and through the rib 15-17 cm from the midline of the outer loin, it is pistola.

Same rule is applied about the pistola cut for adult horses. But by export on horse meat the forequarter is cut off between 4. and 5. rib.

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