“Viagra has Destroyed Everything”..(and other News from Finnmark)

October 7, 2008 • Philip BurgessReindeer, Reindeer Herders

Reindeer Antlers : Sales Drooping

So said reindeer herder Johan Mikkel Haetta as he complained that the bottom has fallen out of the reindeer antler market. Used in the large market in the Far East for aphrodisiacs, reindeer antlers have been an important supplemental source of income for reindeer herders (especially in parts of Russia). The availability of synthetic aphrodisiacs such as Viagra has had a major negative impact on the market.

Fences are in the news in Finnmark, as it has been estimated that there are as much as 600 km of illegal fencing in the county that the Reindeer Husbandry Administration is in the process of removing. Politicians in Karasjok say the work is not progressing fast enough, while reindeer herders  are quoted as being reluctant to remove them as they are a great help with herd management. In Northern Finnmark, reindeer herding district 13 are attempting to ensure that a planned road will avoid an important calving district. In Oslo, last week, farmers and reindeer herders met in an attempt to maintain dialogue in order to avoid a repeat performance of the conflict this year (5 reindeer were shot on the grounds of a farm in Alta). Finnish farmers are also reported to be considering shooting at reindeer that cross the border from Norway, which has prompted the head of the reindeer herding administration to initiate dialogue.

Elsewhere, it looks like the 2018 Winter Olympics will not be held in Tromso, as fears about escalating costs and a thumbs down from the Sports Board. Arild Pettersen Inga, the area leader for the Troms district for one thought that this was a lost opportunity for reindeer husbandry to get some positive press coverage for a change.

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