Swedish horse owners face abattoir queues

New demands for separate slaughterhouses for horses following the European horse-meat scandal mean many abattoirs in Sweden are turning away horse-owners who want to put down their horses.

Swedish horse owners face abattoir queues

After several Swedish food retailers had to recall ready-made meals as the horse-meat scandal engulfed Europe, many stores and supermarkets now demand that their subcontractors use separate facilities to slaughter animals intended for consumption and horses.

Yet a shortage of such facilities means many slaughterhouses are simply turning away requests to put down horses across Sweden, reported Sveriges Television (SVT) this week.

READ ALSO: "You can't butcher a family member"

"It doesn't feel good if the alternative is to send horses to the south of Europe to be slaughtered," said Skövde slaughterhouse spokesman Ove Konradsson, who is now only killing pigs and cows. 

"If our customers accepted that we slaughter horses, we'd be happy to," he added.

READ ALSO: Now on sale at Ikea: Horse-free meatballs

There are 34 industrial slaughterhouses in Sweden, six of which have now completely stopped putting down horses, SVT's tally revealed. 

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Neiiiighbours offer help to Swedish riding adventurer

Suzanna Holmqvist, 28, is taking her horse and her dog on a massive adventure across Sweden and is being offered plenty of help along the way.

Neiiiighbours offer help to Swedish riding adventurer
Suzanna Holmqvist taking her horse and dog for a shorter walk. Photo: private

The Swede, from Limedforsen, Dalarna, has decided to make her long life dream come true and is going to ride across Sweden, all the way from Skåne in the south to Lapland in the north.

“It’s just something I have always wanted to do,” Holmqvist told The Local on Tuesday.

Her voyage will start on April 28th, when she'll take her horse Krumelur and her dog Jasmine on a four-month journey through Sweden.

Since she announced the trip on her Facebook page she's already had plenty of offers of help.

“What an adventure you have in front of you! Would love to join for a couple of miles around Sundsvall, and if you are passing Sundsvall we can offer you stable and a bed,” one woman wrote.

“So exciting! I also want to do something like this sometime!! At our place in Borås you get food and sleep if you are riding through!” another woman posted on the site.

Suzanna and her horse Krumelur. Photo: private.

Holmqvist claims the attention she's since grabbed in the Swedish media was unexpected, but she has decided to make the most of it and will fundraise for an animal organisation during the trip.

“All the positive response made me want to make something good of it too.”

The main preparation for the trip so far has been to train the horse and herself to travel long-distances. However the Swede claims the bigger challenge will probably be the mental aspect. Holmqvist believes the trip will be boring from time to time, but said that she was not running to a tight schedule and had allowed herself plenty of leeway in case her and her animals came across unplanned obstacles.

“We will have plenty of time if something goes wrong.”

For others inspired enough to make similar tough solo journeys, Holmqvist offered this advice: “To be really purposeful and not let yourself give up because of little things — keep up the good mood.”

Article by Emma Lidman