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Puppy smuggling shows no signs of abating

Almost 2,000 puppies are smuggled illegally to Sweden every year, new statistics reveal, putting Sweden at risk of rabies while endangering the life and health of the trendy dogs.

Puppy smuggling shows no signs of abating

The TV4 television news network has reported a new estimate of the puppies smuggled in to Sweden each year.

Swedish Customs and the Agricultural Board now estimate that about 2,000 pups cross into Sweden illegally every year, many stuffed into boxes and bags by the smugglers to avoid detection.

Animal rights campaigners have long said that “dog factories” in eastern Europe breed dogs according to the latest trends in consumer-powerful and trend-sensitive societies such as Sweden’s.

Hans Rosenberg, spokesman for the Swedish Kennel Club, told TV4 that the dogs are ill-treated from factory to car boot.

“It’s appalling. At first they grow up in hideous conditions, then they are smuggled in by being tied up and shoved into suitcases,” he said.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICTURES OF THE SMUGGLED PUPPIES (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

The Local reported earlier this year that while smuggling is not new, the breeds change according to which type of dogs have found favour among Swedes.

“There weren’t enough chihuahua breeders in Sweden when they became popular,” senior adviser Siw Ågren at Animal Rights Sweden (Djurens Rätt) told The Local.

“So it became a lucrative market for smugglers.”

“Previously we saw more chihuahuas. Nowadays, there are a lot of pugs and French bulldogs,” Diemar at the Agriculture Board told The Local, adding that Sweden was rabies free and authorities would like to keep it that way.

“And it probably reflects what is in fashion.”

TT/The Local/at

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Sweden warns of sharper than expected economic slowdown

Sweden's government has worsened its economic outlook, bracing the country for slowing growth and rising unemployment.

Sweden warns of sharper than expected economic slowdown
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said trade tensions were slowing growth. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
In its latest prognosis, the country's finance ministry expects the country's economy to grow by 1.1 percent in 2020, down from the 1.4 percent it predicted in last September's budget. 
 
“We expect growth in Sweden to start slowing,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said as she released the new figures. 
 
“There is a fairly broad consensus on the reason: This is due to trade wars and growing barriers for business, which has generated uncertainty over trade in the future, leading to reduced investment.” 
 
She said that the lacklustre economic growth in Germany had been a particular problem for Swedish exporters. 
 
According to the new prognosis, unemployment will hit 7 percent this year and next year, compared to the 6.4 percent predicted in September. 
 
But Andersson said that Sweden's healthy government finance, the result of years of budget surpluses, put it in a strong position to weather the downturn. 
 
“We can meet this slowdown without any significant cuts,” she said. “We have the lowest government debt since 1977 and compared to other EU countries were are extremely low.” 
 
She described the country's finances as a 'welfare reserve' which would allow the government to keep services running and provide fiscal economic stimulus in bad times.
 
She also said that the government planned this year to channel more money to Sweden's cash-strapped municipalities in through a special spring budget, recognising that growing unemployment is likely to drag on local budgets. 
 
The government could release emergency financing to the municipalities even earlier, she said. 
 
“It's obvious that requirements are greater now and will be greater in future.” 
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