• Sweden's news in English

'Keep Swedish cows indoors': dairy farmers

TT/David Landes · 9 Jun 2009, 13:41

Published: 09 Jun 2009 13:41 GMT+02:00

If the rules aren’t changed, Swedish dairy farmers will be drowned out of business by a flood of imported Danish milk, according to Per Andersson, head of Sveriges Mjölkbönder (‘Association of Swedish Dairy Farmers’).

“We can’t afford to have them outdoors. Things are going to hell in a handbasket for Swedish milk producers,” Andersson told the TT news agency.

The organization, which has around 1,000 members, thinks that dairy farmers who introduce new, ultra-modern and spacious indoor feeding environments, should be exempt from Sweden’s outdoor grazing rules, according to Sveriges Radio.

Andersson, who himself has 140 cows on a farm near Stjärnhov in Sörmland in eastern Sweden, supplies Danish-Swedish dairy giant Arla.

Increasingly, Arla is filling Swedish store shelves with Danish milk.

According to Andersson, Swedish dairy producers can’t compete against their Danish counterparts, who are allowed to keep their cows indoors year round if they wish.

Nor is it proven with certainty that Swedish cows are in better shape than Danish cows simply because they are allowed to be outside, said Andersson.

After all, he added, the cows are only outside a fraction of the year, thus making their indoor environment at least as important.

“They deserve a better indoor life than I can afford to give them,” said Andersson.

Andersson’s opinions, however, are not representative of all Swedish dairy farmers, according to Johan Taubert, spokesperson for the Federation of Swedish Farmers (Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund – LRF), which represents nearly 80 percent of the country’s dairy producers.

Story continues below…

“A majority of Swedish dairy farmers support the outdoor grazing requirement,” he said.

At a recent meeting of LRF, a majority of members voted down a motion to get rid of the requirement.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

14:56 June 9, 2009 by peropaco
What's up with all that protectionism? I though the creation of the EU would get rid of all the nationalistic sentiments and it would be one umbrella without borders and flag waving.
16:03 June 9, 2009 by jack sprat
It will be a sad day when Joe Public can no longer see a bunch of cows grazing or contentedly chewing their cud in an open field.

The kids may never see at first hand where their daily milk comes from.

However the EU should be based on a level playing field and it seems that in Scandinavia,sadly it is only Sweden that has a concience about production methods.

By the way, the photo you show is not one of a Dairy herd but of a Beef herd.

Jack,Retired Farmer,Dalsland.
20:03 June 9, 2009 by eZee.se
"Keep Swedish cows indoors"... hmmm, i bet the feminists were livid till they read the rest of the article...
21:07 June 9, 2009 by m8surf
It breaks my heart to read this. One of the reasons I was excited to move here is that Swedes are much better about valuing natural treatment of animals, and recieving natural food. I love the cows everywhere and they should be everywhere. I sure hope they don't change the laws. Screw Danish milk.
00:55 June 10, 2009 by Eurostan
it is a common sense that cows feel good in outside environment in summer and eats variety of fresh grass and improves its health.

if cow stays year round cow will have shorter life span.

and torture for the cow.

it seems that farmers are only interested in only short term money.
04:17 June 10, 2009 by Marc the Texan
Why don't they just apply the same rules for imported milk. You can send Danish milk, but t must meet all the same requirements as the Swedish dairy industry. A little enforcement and Problem Solved!
08:02 June 10, 2009 by Tennin
I won't be buying Arla milk anymore. I will spend the extra krona to buy the local milk.

I think it's wonderful to see all the cows outside, enjoying themselves and grazing so happily. It would be a really boring and sad drive on Sweden's country roads when you don't see any cows out grazing.
09:03 June 10, 2009 by storstark
"Increasingly, Arla is filling Swedish store shelves with Danish milk."

i challenge you all to write a quick little note and email it to Arla:

Dear Arla,

As you are filling Swedish store shelves with Danish milk, much of which is produced from 'battery'-like environments, I have decided to no longer purchace ANY of your goods until you cease this practice.


ex-Arla customer.

i drank some ecological milk the other day... a whole glass of it... then i had another... it tasted like new zealand milk... exactly like new zealand milk, and i had a craving for marmite on toast to go with it...

unfortunately sweden's climate means the cow cannot be grazed outdoors on grass all year (as happens in nz)... in fact, our neighbourhood cows have only come out to play in the last few weeks... so they are fed on hay and all kinds of processed feed made out of recycled cardboard and crap

and that is why all swedish milk tends to taste the way it does... but try the eco stuff, it's good! you won't go back (but not Arla!)

keeping cows in all year round though... isn't what they are suggesting 'battery' farming for cows? 'ultra modern and spacious,' they say... i can just see it - lcd screens, wall to wall carpet, bean bags, and that intense smell of confined space

the state of swedish milk will only worsen, then we'll all want to drink the danish crap anyway
09:22 June 10, 2009 by jack sprat
Not sure about LCD screens but cows do enjoy some pleasant music while they are doing the biz.

As for cow carpets,they have been around for a long time.
09:41 June 10, 2009 by storstark
the screens would show only 'Robinson' or some reality wedding drivel at any rate, then the milk would really go off
10:11 June 10, 2009 by jack sprat
A bull of the month show would probably boost milk production.

In this area Arla only supply milk from Swedens West Coast.
10:41 June 10, 2009 by Eurostan
i dont buy arla milk any more.
15:18 June 10, 2009 by Puffin
I have stopped buying Arla products they are forcing the small Swedish dairies out of business by forcing the larger stores (ICA/COOP/City Gross) to sign exclusivity agreements to only stock their products.

Soon there will be no choice left
21:17 June 10, 2009 by whattodo?
Sweden must stand strong and maintain its integrity against so many forces that are creeping in. Allowing cows to graze outside whenever weather permits is the only human and healthy choice for both cows and the dairy product consumers. People need to boycott any products that are not compliant with Swedens current farming laws. Most people do not realize how horrific it is for a "dairy cow" to be confined, not to mention, indefinately inside buildings, usually cement floors, their head enclosed in bars, machines hooked up to them, and "animal feed" that contains gmo grains, animal parts, etc. Great for agribusiness, terrible for the cows and people.
22:17 June 10, 2009 by jack sprat
A modern farm is not quite the hell-hole or torture chamber you describe Whattodo.

It is in the farmers best interest to keep the cows in good condition with a fair degree of comfort.

However I do agree its a shame to keep them in all year.

Dont know if you've ever seen them when they get turned out for the first time in late Spring, but they usually go loco for an hour or two,even the older ones, bouncing about the fields like Spring lambs for a while, before settling back into their normal routine.
10:06 June 11, 2009 by lel
I refuse to buy Danish pork. When I lived in the UK I bought outdoor reared British meat as animals deserve our respect. I am generally impressed with Swedish animal husbandry and avoid all Danish animal products. We need to support Swedish farmers and not sell them short as has happened to many British farmers because of supermarket forces. You get what you pay for...maybe karma is part of that too.
14:53 June 11, 2009 by Tennin
I agree with you lel. Karma, what goes around comes around.

I don't think just because we kill to eat something we should treat those animals so cruely. It's really horrible what people will do to make things cheaper in order for more profit. I'd much rather pay alittle more for animals that are raised and killed humanely, then pay a few kronor less for animals who were tortured their whole life.

A friend of mine had me see a film a couple of weeks ago, and it's really shocking and eye opening. It's called "Earthlings".

20:21 June 12, 2009 by spy
The measure of a civilised society is how they treat their animals, prisoners and immigrants.
21:04 June 12, 2009 by jack sprat
The way the weather is at present the cows indoors are the lucky ones.
00:27 June 13, 2009 by sodafox
I buy our milk from a local dairy and find that it's much creamier and of better quality than that 'tetra pak' rubbish that most large dairy farmers produce. Mind you... its not homogenized but hell, who can't shake a bottle eh?

Long live happy cows!
00:45 June 13, 2009 by jack sprat
Better still.

Be sure your milk comes from the local brown cows and not those black and white immigrants.

Much richer with higher cream and butterfat content.

Now, just watch someone accuse me of being racialy predjudice to cows.

Probably be a first anyway.
02:12 June 13, 2009 by Willy
Well, they have been here for a couple of centuries, right? So hardly new arrivals. And don't the red SRB cattle have some Scottish ancestry as well?
02:22 June 25, 2009 by Bsmith
Feed the Danish milk to the Danes. Cows fed on pasture are healthier and produce healthier milk.
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