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Swedish Meats chair quits over pig scandal

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Swedish Meats chair quits over pig scandal
09:54 CET+01:00
Lars Hultström has resigned as chair of Swedish Meats and all other leadership positions. Hultström owns one of the pig farms at the heart of an animal rights scandal.

In addition to resigning as the chair of Swedish Meats, an association representing more than 17,000 livestock farmers in Sweden, Hultström has also resigned his posts at Sveriges Grisproducenter, and association representing Sweden's pig farmers, and the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) as well as several other agricultural associations.

"I realize that in the current climate I can not carry out my responsibilities. I will continue to fight so that Swedish farmers should have the right to manage their farms and look after their animals, but the pressure is just too much at the moment," Hultström said in a press release.

"We will continue to supply the fine pigs that we have always done and we will continue to work on the farm. I am of course opposed to all neglect of animals - it is quite simply unacceptable. I can also understand the reactions to the film and pictures that have emerged, they have damaged the whole farming sector," he continued.

Sweden's agriculture minister Eskil Erlandsson has, together with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, invited the main pig farming organizations for talks over the scandal in Jönköping in southern Sweden on Monday.

"I presume that the organisations can demonstrate and ensure that they follow the strict Swedish legislation. I also presume that the goodwill lost can be recovered, even if it will be a long uphill struggle," Erlandsson said.

The scandal broke last week after the publishing of filmed material by animal rights group, The Animal Rights Alliance, which had visited several hundred farms across Sweden over the course of two years.

The film footage depicted widespread neglect of the animals and the group has reported more than 90 pig farmers to the police for violating Swedish animal protection laws.

Malin Gustafsson at The Animal Rights Alliance has welcomed Hultström's decision to resign.

"He is right to go. We have documented one of his farms several times and it has shown a series of very severe failings that we have reported to the police," she told the TT news agency.

"It is one of the leading representatives within the Swedish pig farming industry who is treating the animals in this way," she added.

While Eskil Erlandsson was on Saturday unwilling to comment on Hultstöm's resignation, he praised the exposure of the situation by the group.

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