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Swedish pig farms flout animal protection laws

Swedish pig farms flout animal protection laws

Published: 24 Nov 2009 08:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Nov 2009 15:27 GMT+01:00

Living conditions for Swedish pigs are worse than previously realized, an animal rights group claims, citing its own video evidence.

On one pig farm owned by the chairman of the board of Swedish Meats, an association representing more than 17,000 livestock farmers in Sweden, the group recorded footage of pigs chewing on the carcass of a dead pig.

The Animal Rights Alliance (Djurrättsalliansen) has visited hundreds of farms over the last two years, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).

The group claims to have found grave violations of Sweden’s animal protection laws at basically every farm it visited.

The pigs’ living quarters lacked hay on the floors, exhibited poor air quality, and the animals had sores and other injuries.

One of the farms visited by the group is owned by Lars Hultström, who, in addition to serving as the chair of Swedish Meats, also has leadership positions in Sveriges Grisproducenter, an association of Swedish pig farmers, and several other agricultural associations.

Visiting Hultström's farm last Sunday, the Animal Rights Alliance filmed a group of pigs chewing on a dead pig lying on the floor of a pig pen. Several pigs had injuries on their legs, and their pens lacked any hay.

Sveriges Radio claims to have reviewed the film and confirmed its authenticity.

Johan Beck Friis of the Swedish Veterinary Association (Sveriges Veterinärförbund – SVF) said the film shows “a serious case of the mistreatment of animals”.

“This is prohibited and unacceptable in every way, both from the perspective of hygiene and animal protection,” he told SR.

Swedish agriculture minister Eskil Erlandsson, himself a former pig farmer, is distraught about the revelations of animal mistreatment on Swedish pig farms.

“I’m upset and really sorry,” he told the TT news agency.

Hultström initially refused to comment on the images or conditions on his farm.

But in the wake of the scandal, he said on Tuesday that he plans to take a “time out” from responsibilities on the boards of several agricultural associations until an investigation into the matter is complete.

Jan Åke Robertsson, CEO of Svenska Djurhälsovården, a veterinary company owned by Swedish meat producer Scan, told TT that representatives from his company had been out to Hultström’s farm earlier in the day.

“After a review and the administering of medical treatment, and the putting down of the seriously ill pigs, there are no more problems with the animals’ health,” he told TT.

While he admitted that the lack of hay was the result of a technical problem which has since been corrected, it is not sufficient to explain the pigs’ poor living conditions.

“Every case like this is a terrible event and it reflects badly on all the others – many – who every moment of every day care for their pigs and maintain a standard which is unique to Sweden,” Robertsson told TT.

The Animal Rights Alliance said it has reported more than 90 pig farmers to police for violating Swedish animal protection laws.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:02 November 24, 2009 by Tomandjerry
what hypocritical people!

you guys eat them and talk the rights of them?
14:21 November 24, 2009 by dammen
Unfortunately, cases like this are all too common here in Sweden and nothing happens if they are reported. Animals rights simply do not exist here, which raises the question about the rights of humans too.
15:05 November 24, 2009 by crofab
Tomandjerry, it is far from hypocritical to want animals to be treated humanely, even if we eat them. Death can be relatively quick and painless, but suffering for many of these animals is lifelong. It's a matter of ethics.

What is truly hypocritical are people who claim to be moral/ethical and yet do not care one bit about the treatment of the animals they eat.
15:14 November 24, 2009 by Tomandjerry
@crofab

who gives you the right to terminate other creature's life?you kill them and eat them as you like but still you want them to die in dignity?

if you wanna treat them humanely, ok, start with not killing and eating them..otherwise, there is no meaning at all to talk about animals rights..

i love meat :)..so, i dnt even care about their rights..as long as they dnt eat my pets..
17:02 November 24, 2009 by Stormysmoker
I like meat

I eat meat

Sometimes I kill animals to turn them into meat.

It still doesn't mean that they should not be treated with respect while they are alive!

These meat producers (I wouldn't insult farmers by calling them farmers) should be banned from keeping animals.
21:40 November 24, 2009 by Redbee
So the veterinary company also owned by the meat producer Scan says everythings alright now after putting down pigs which have suffered owing to neglect ,what hypocrits !. Although we are told that the Swedish government have many good policies regarding the public ,they seem to have very few regarding animal welfare .
03:22 November 25, 2009 by Davey-jo
That pigpen looks better than a Hull council house. Can we arrange a swap?
19:40 November 25, 2009 by quieteye
Like you, at a point in time as you - aware of surface, sights, sounds - the nurturing of a "parent" - light, dark, cold, warmth, hunger, comfort and discomfort - security and fear. Like you.

And then - unlike you (mostly) - experience of ongoing - brutality, fear disregard, pain - as the norm of existance.

You - do little or nothing.

We all - do little or nothing.

It is OK....
20:51 November 25, 2009 by quieteye
Or, as the 1st impulse is to not read the article, is it NOT OK. We just want to avoid being aware - and forget. Something is not right here folks. And those aware have the means to affect a change.
20:35 November 26, 2009 by xykat
I am a vegetarian...

Whether your a vegetarian or a meat eater complain to Swedish Meats and demand that they fire this guy and improve their practices and the treatment of animals. I did! I emailed every one that I saw on the Swedish Meat website!

Also read the labels on the meat you buy. Do not buy cheap meat. If animals are treated better then be willing to pay more for meat, Better yet go out to Norrtalje or your closest farming area and buy meat from a farmer that you know takes care of his/her animals or gives them a decent life before slaughter at least.

Even if your a meat eater you can still be a responsible one and make things a little better for the animals. Put your money where your mouth is and take action. Write these people and demand better treatment for the animals.

I think we should ban industrial factory farming methods and farms!!!!

But if you want to get educated about what REALLY happens see the following webpage. http://www.goveg.com/factoryFarming.asp
02:01 November 29, 2009 by Coalbanks
Animal rights...hmmm? An interesting concept. perhaps elk that kill humans will one day be sent to jail for rehabilitation or therapy?
12:58 May 5, 2010 by schweinefettmann
We could just as well turn this article around and say that these animal rights people are trying to destroy the economy of these farmers by only publishing the videos of bad pig farms, and not the good, which do exist.

So surely this branding of pig farmers is unfair to the pig farmers who follow KRAV standards or go even a step further.

Don't get me wrong though, I am all for animal rights, but I am just as concerned over the rights of the farmers, who now all live with a tarnished reputation, even if they do treat the animals with care.
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