“She couldn’t feed herself any more and died in the end [clogged with] mucous,” says Sigurbjorn Hjaltason, farmer and former Kjosahreppur council leader.
The farmer says he noticed last winter that an unusually high number of his sheep either died or had great difficulty feeding, DV reported.
Closer inspection revealed that many of them had general thickening and raised areas on their jawbones resulting in the death of a sheep from hunger. The farmer kept the ewe’s skull and hopes to have it independently analysed this autumn.
Hjaltason told DV he believes fluorine pollution from the nearby Grundartangi aluminium smelter caused his sheep to get ill. One of the points he makes is that the dead sheep was born in 2006; the same year as an accident at the smelter released a lot of fluorine into the environment. According to the Environment Agency, the concentration of fluorine in sheep and other long-lived mammals nearby doubled following the accident. Hjaltason fears the same fate awaits more of his sheep this winter, which are currently off grazing in the mountains.
Before the animal finally died, a vet told the farmer that fluorine poisoning was a likely cause; but that it could not be proven without sending bone and tooth samples for testing. Hjaltason now hopes to do that this autumn.