Living the slaughter life

“It’s our lifestyle,” say two British friends who travel the world, working. One of them has been visiting Iceland annually for over 20 years to take part in the autumn sheep slaughter season.

The Nordlenska abattoir in Husavik, north Iceland, is never busier than at this time of year; as, for around two months, thousands of sheep and lambs arrive to die following a summer of freedom in the open countryside. 90 people are working at the plant and roughly half of them are not Icelandic.

According to Nordlenska staffing manager Sigmundur Hreidarsson, many of the staff members have been coming to slaughter for ten years in a row, or more — and their experience is very important.

The Icelandic sheep slaughter season is, for some of the staff, part of a wider lifestyle which revolves around travel, wide-ranging work, and time spent resting and relaxing.

Darren Patton, a foreman at the abattoir, has been visiting Iceland to work on the slaughter every year since 1988. He enjoys the job and says he likes meeting people from different cultures and nationalities.

Chris Kane, his friend at Nordlenska and fellow Brit, intends to stay two months in Husavik before going to process mink skins near Selfoss and then on to Thailand, where his family lives. After that he will go to New Zealand to work in a vineyard — then back to Thailand and on to complete the circle in Husavik a year from now, RUV reported.