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Army castrates heraldic lion

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Photo: Torbjörn F Gustafsson/Försvarets Bildbyrå
12:34 CET+01:00
Protests from female soldiers have led to the Swedish military removing the penis of a heraldic lion depicted on the Nordic Battlegroup's coat of arms.

The armed forces agreed to emasculate the lion after a group of women from the rapid reaction force lodged a complaint to the European Court of Justice, Göteborgs-Posten reports.

But although the army was eventually happy to make the changes in the interests of gender equality, the artist who designed the insignia was less than pleased.

"A heraldic lion is a powerful and stately figure with its genitalia intact and I cannot approve an edited image," Vladimir A Sagerlund from the National Archives told Göteborgs-Posten.

Sagerlund blasted the army for making changes to the coat of arms without his permission.

"The army lacks knowledge about heraldry. Once upon a time coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Crown," said Sagerlund.

But the castrated lion has already won the day and is now worn on the arms of all soldiers in the battle group's Swedish battalions.

"We were given the task of making sure the willy disappeared," Christian Braunstein from the army's 'tradition commission' told Göteborgs-Posten.

"We were forced to cut the lion's willy off with the aid of a computer," he added.

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The Nordic Battlegroup is one of eighteen such military groups in the European Union. Some 2,000 of its 2,400 soldiers come from Sweden, with the rest coming from Finland, Norway, Ireland and Estonia.

Blog: Rush Limbaugh calls lion emasculation 'the chickification of culture'.

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