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ANIMAL CRUELTY

Swedish pig farms flout animal protection laws

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

Swedish pig farms flout animal protection laws

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.

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ANIMALS

Outrage after Malmö council officers shoot aggressive swan dad

A swan living on a canal in central Malmö was shot dead by professional hunters on Sunday night, just weeks before the birth of his eight cygnets.

Outrage after Malmö council officers shoot aggressive swan dad
A swan studies its reflection in Malmö's Pildammsparken. Photo: Jakob Nilsson-Ehle/Flickr
The male swan or 'cob' signed his own death sentence earlier this year, when he attacked a group of children near his nest close to Malmö's police station, causing several of the youngsters to fall into the water. 
 
“I understand that people are upset about this. I'm upset myself. I conserve nature. I don't usually kill things,” Ola Enqvist, a nature conservationist employed by Malmö's local government, told The Local. 
 
“All male swans defend their nests of course. But this swan was particularly angry. He attacked everybody who passed by, and people were afraid.” 
 
One local resident, Martina Andersson, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper that she found the decision “extremely upsetting”. 
 
“They were a real feature of the area,” she said of the swans. “He is only protecting his mate from the canoeists who paddle by, but it doesn't do anyone any harm.” 
 
 
Enqvist said two hunters had been granted special police permission to use a firearm and had then both shot the swan simultaneously to ensure he was killed instantly. They carried out the shooting late on Sunday night to minimize the risk of passers-by being alarmed. 
 
Enqvist said that to his knowledge the city authorities had never before had to put a swan down. 
 
“This was the first time it's happened, and I hope the last,” he commented.
 
As for the swan's mate, he said he hoped she would be capable of hatching and nurturing the eight eggs in her nest alone.  
 
“We think and hope that she will be able to bring up the children. She is the one in the nest, not the male, so we hope she will manage to do it herself,” he said. 
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