Birdwatchers spotted the cow’s carcass early on Monday morning out in a pasture near Hässleholm in northern Skåne.
Authorities initially thought the cow had been attacked by wild animals, but a closer examination of the scene revealed that the cow had been tied to a tree and had its throat cut.
Equally vexing, however, was the realization that huge chunks of flesh had been deliberately cut away from the dead cow’s body.
“They’ve taken all the good parts,” said Skåne county livestock inspector Krister Henriksson to the Norra Skåne newspaper, adding that he’d never before seen anything like it.
“I’d guess they cut away and carried away between 150 and 200 kilos of meat.”
Henriksson estimated that the meat thieves took only 30 minutes between the time they killed the cow and had cut out the meat, concluding they likely had solid knowledge of the animal’s anatomy.
As the stolen meat would lack any stamp indicating it had come from a professional slaughterhouse, the thieves would have a difficult time selling it on the open market, according to Henriksson.
Emma Persson, who rents the field from the municipality to graze a herd of 33 cattle, hoped that someone in the area may have seen something and promised to be more vigilant in the future.
“We’ll be sure to pay a bit more attention from now on,” she told Norra Skåne.