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Swedish farmer shoots and kills cow-eating bear

The Local · 23 Apr 2012, 09:58

Published: 23 Apr 2012 09:58 GMT+02:00

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The farmer, from Lekvattnet, near Torby, had already lost one of his calves to the hungry bear, which had most likely just woken from its winter hibernation.

“On Sunday night the bear took a calf from me,” said the farmer to the Jakt och Jägare hunting magazine.

“I noticed the bear just outside the paddock where he was standing and eating something.”

The farmer claims to have walked away to avoid disturbing the animal while he was eating, fearing it might attack him too.

When the farmer’s noticed his cattle acting strangely again on Tuesday night, he took action, fetching his gun to shoot the bear.

Per Larsson of the Värmland county council was among the first on the scene among the confused cattle after the incident.

“Some of them were due to give birth at any time. The cows weren’t the least bit scared of the bear, but stood and glared at it,” said Larsson to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The farmer waited for the opportune time before firing a shot at the bear.

“The bear was on the way toward the cows and when it was 15 metres away I took my shot,” he told the Jakt och Jägare hunting magazine.

The bear was hit directly by the shot, and ran towards a fence where it dropped dead.

The Torsby police were called to the scene and they hauled the 138 kilogramme bear to the local police station.

Story continues below…

Police quickly opened an investigation to determine whether the farmer was in violation of hunting laws.

It has since been decided that he was within his rights to kill the bear as his livestock were threatened, wrote the paper.

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Your comments about this article

12:41 April 23, 2012 by gabeltoon
An unfortunate outcome but the farmer had no choice it seems.This event seems hard to take as i've never seen a bear in the wild.I can understand it but why cant there be a differant way of tackling the problem.
16:32 April 23, 2012 by oldonpalouse
If one lives in Idaho or Montana, under this circumstance the ' greenies' show up screaming the calf was dead already and the bear, wolf, cougar was shot illegally.

They are not truthful and feel the 'end justifies the means'.
18:29 April 23, 2012 by Trenatos
Idiocy! This farmer should have put up better fencing, not kill the hungry bear.

Why won't the authorities step in?

There are many non-lethal deterrents and weapons that work just fine for making sure the bear doesn't come back.

**** farmers and their self-rightous gunwielding!
21:01 April 23, 2012 by bramblebush
@oldonpalouse: Your's is the same old tired rhetoric designed to justify you desire to kill everything for sport. You hear the same old lie out of every redneck with a gun.
22:50 April 23, 2012 by maxbrando
Yeaah!! go for it. Keep shooting 'em!
01:27 April 24, 2012 by rabbemos
Its a complex issue.

1. Consumers wan't free range cattle and dairystock to have a healthy life. So, the farmers need more land than high intensity cattle farms in the USA for example. Which is a good thing since in the US the quality of meat in terms of the concentrations of antibiotics and questionable nutritional value from corn feed is a major health concern.

2. The increased land needed to raise livestock in Sweden combined with the health requirements makes pig farming noncompetitive compared to German and Danish farmers so those Swedish farmers are taking a hit. Don't know how it is for cattle. However, lets assume cattle and dairy farmers margins are also tight...as their is a known push to increase the number of dairy cattle per farmer in Sweden to 100 or so I believe.

3. The farmer cannot afford to lose his heard. In Norway, the farmers are compensated for livestock slaughtered by predators, but this compensation has lead in some cases to sheep being killed by "fake wolves" in order to claim the government compensation.

4. One food calorie of beef requires about 75 calories of fossil fuel to produce whereas, soybeans take 1 calorie of fossil fuel to produce. More meat means more land, meat industry people will say, convert more marginal land to pasture land, however, that only reduces the fossil fuel calories by half, and then leaves the farmer with the challenge of more time spent herding and more fences in a business already ran on tight margins.

Living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle solves most of these problems but most people are not willing to give up meat or dairy so these issues are only likely to increase rather than decrease, for centuries people thought that bathing was bad for one's health, and had no understanding of sanitation as we do now. We can't expect even supposedly modern people to make rational decisions....Edward Bernay's work in PR exemplifies most of us are irrational in our decision making.

The only logical thing to do then is to round up the maxbrando's tranatos, and bramblebush of the world who only stir the sh*t rather than find a place to dispose of it properly and hunt them down to extinction. Thereby, we would satisfy the needs of the carnivore/hunter part of the reasonable and sensible population and the vegetarian vegan as well. LOL.
02:26 April 24, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
This is a horrible story. The bear had just awoken from hibernation; of course he's hungry! Hunters & gun nuts are a disgrace to humanity.
08:25 April 24, 2012 by skogsbo
trenatos/bramble, I presume you wanted the bear to slowly maul the cows to death, rather than a clean kill? Build a fence, I will presume you live in a town and only see the Swedish countryside in movies? Building a bear proof fence would not be cost effective, unless you want to start paying 50% for your meat? A small price for you to pay for peace of mind?

Farmers margins are tight for all animals, lamb has had a recent boom, but a little better. Cattle depending on the breed a farmer will receive between 40ore and 1kr carcass weight (on average), cattle farming in Sweden isn't like the USA or the Danish pig market, cattle almost always get out Spring to Autumn, many get a winter walk, for better health.

Where do you get your 75calories of fossil fuel from for 1 of beef? Our cows, eat our own hay with no additional feed or heating when inside in winter. So they are almost carbon neutral. Carbon goes to the grass, to hay, to beef (and manure), then back into the circle via us. We do have to use some fuel to cut the hay, but without cutting the fields, the forest would soon take them over and keeping fields clear is a national requirement in Sweden, so it's hardly a carbon cost that can be attributed only to the cattle.
09:47 April 24, 2012 by rabbemos
@Skogsbo, The Cows use about 10 times the water as the same amount of grain per calorie. How does your water get to the farm? Is it all rainwater or does it come from a pump somewhere, the pump most likely uses fossil fuels?

I see your point on cutting the fields, however, the grains are turned into calories much more efficiently if being made into flour or soy products rather than being fed to cattle so right there is an increased fuel cost due to harvesting 3 or 4 times the surface area with a tractor to reach the same food calories.

Meat needs to be stored at a lower temperature than grain...refrigeration uses more fuel than storing most grain products at the air temperature level.

Now, if you are not using grain feed, which is "imported" to your farm lowers the fuel cost considerably. 75 is an American grain fed number assuming a shipping cost of the grain to the livestock and the average lifestock shipping distance to market. In Sweden that distance is probably less in most cases...so, 75 may be a high number but it is still at least of an order of magnitude or two higher in fuel calorie consumption to food calorie production simply due to the questions and explanations provided above....refining it down to a closer estimation would be based on your response. In any case, thanks for your interest.
11:44 April 24, 2012 by skogsbo
rabbe, all rainfall. about 20% of our hectares are marsh, so no need to ever pipe any water to field, we have three wells, on the farm itself, 1 actually comes out in the cows wintering barn. We do sometime need to electric pump water, true, that's why I'm working on some project to use either a 12v or 24v wind turbine and solar generator, to power a battery bank, to them power a small water pump that trickle a small but consistant amount of water into a trough. Better than using a 440v pump for just a few minutes a day, not sure?

We don't buy in grains, cows little entirely on their own grazing and are not finished on any product. We only cut hay once per year, this is Sweden not europe or the US, it just doesn't grow that quick. A quarter of our fields are classed a national significant(due to plant life and bio-diversity) and we have to hand scythe them every year. If we never, the Swedish state would pay some to do it.

The abbatoir and processing plant are combined and are 15km away, which is the only driven journey the stock take. All our fields radiate around the farm, the furthest being less than 1/2km away. We don't bail the hay, it is just spun into rows, and then picked up be reversing up the lanes with a rake on the back. Hand thrown on further, then hand thrown into the barn. In winter the hay is just shove or thrown down from the loft to the cows, the tractor is redundant for 4-5months in winter as far as the cows are concerned. Bedding is our own straw from oats, which are used to feed the hens for a whole year.

So I would say our fuel miles are as low as practically possible. Whilst we accept many modern inventions, our farm is probably as environmentally friendly as cattle production could realistically become.
18:29 April 24, 2012 by rabbemos
@skogsbo Interesting, is your system the standard way of raising beef in Sweden?

What stores does your beef end up in (Chain retail stores such as COOP)?

Is your beef classified as Organic? If not why?

What antibiotic regimen do the cattle receive? How long before slaughter do they have to wait from the last antibiotics are issued.

Impressed how different your animal husbandry practices are as compared to factory farming in the US.

In any case keep up the good work.
06:37 April 25, 2012 by Trenatos
skogsbo, you sound like one of those gunwielding farmers who haven't actually done any research into alternative means of animal control other than deciding what rifle to buy.

If you can't get deterrents for cheaper than it would raise your cost of farming to the point where you have to charge 50% more per kg of meat, you're not doing your research.
07:28 April 25, 2012 by rabbemos

Your challenge is you tend to just outright insult people by judging them. Secondly, you fail to educate skogsbo in any meaningful way to actually help him to protect bears with something other than guns. So, with those two moves you have really shut the door on any chance at meaningful dialogue and painted yourself in the light of being a troll, or a reactionary, or just someone in a bad mood...rather than someone who actually cares about bears or the challenges of farmers, or really anything other than stroking your own, apparently, shallow ego by attacking others. ;-)
07:34 April 25, 2012 by skogsbo
rabbe, the beef is packaged and sold on by the same company ELLOS , they stock many Swedish stores. The land isn't classed as organic but it wouldn't impact the price, plus registration fees etc would narrow any gain for small herd. No antibiotic regime. Not all Swedish farms are this way, but many smaller ones are. The larger ones are obviously more mass produced, but mnay of the feeds and drugs given to cattle in the USA are illegal in Europe and not allowed into the food chain.

Trenatos, no bears where I am, so I don't need to weild any gun. I will leave you to carry out the research on fencing costs, I would suggest a modest 30kr per metre materials, so that's a minimum 12000kr(plus labour) for a fenced in hectare, which on poor northern grazing would have a stocking rate of 1 cow, give the fence life of 5 years before repair and maintence, gives a cost of 2400kr plus labour per year. A cow could have a carcass weight of between say 300-500kg, getting between 3kr and 10kr per kg, you'll see the margins are narrow. Electric fences need to be less substantial, but have greater intial outlay and obviously the continuous power cost. Trust me, if they are cheap ways of doing something, a farmer will already know it.

Trenatos, as you are clearly not that clued up, I'll await your suggestions. But at the end of the day, a bear was causing his animals suffering, he solved the problem painlessly for the bear. If you are that concerned for animal welfare, don't eat chicken(worst living conditions of any food chain animal) and look around where you life, I bet there are dozens of cats and dogs suffering far more in the hands of your neighbours, all going unnoticed.
08:45 April 25, 2012 by rabbemos
@skogsbo, if you farm is anywhere in Southern Sweden and its possible for you to take an order for beef I would seriously consider putting one in. Much rather know the people and place my food comes from rather than buy it from a supermarket.

Interesting to hear that what you sell organic beef for does not gain your a profit but it does those up the distribution chain, is that true?

Best of luck with your farm!
17:24 April 25, 2012 by Smiling Canuk
This is a shame because I read there are only 800 bears in Sweden , er, make that 799 now.
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