Horse meat and Swedish wolves wandering south


In the middle of January it was revealed by the Irish Food Administration that horse meat had been found in food on Ireland. DNA from horses was traced in hamburgers from Burger King later that month. On February 5th 80% horse meat and a few days later 100% in lasagnas from Findus.

 The colleagues in Great Britain were contacted and on February the 12th the British Food Administration made a raid towards two butcheries, among them Spranghero and the owners were arrested. It was suspected that six horses full of medicine had been transported to France and made into food. Here in Sweden it was discovered on February 7th that Findus’ lasagna contained 100% horse meat and 20,000 packages of frozen foods were withdrawn from the food stores. The Swedish Food Administration intends to accuse Findus of crime against the laws for treatment of food supplies. Findus in turn now accuses their purveyor Comicol for breach of contract and deceit. The stores Ica and Coop have found horse meat in lasagna and withdrawn it. Lidl takes away gulasch soup and frozen pasta. On February 13th the EU ministers assembled in Brussels, Belgium. They decided that random DNA test will be taken to check for horse meat. The horse meat scandal has spread to several countries: Ireland, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Chech republic, Romania, Germany, Poland, Denmark and Sweden.

The ministers assembled once more two days ago in Brussels. The Swedish Minister of Agriculture Eskil Erlandsson said: “It’s a wide spread cheating with these products and that’s a great shame. I hope that everyone now takes responsibility and sees to deal with the cheating and frauds that exist and that we might trust what’s written on the declaration of ingredients in the future.” The German Minister of Agriculture Ilse Aignar claimed that the buyers have the right to openness. Austria agrees and they both demand stricter and more laws on the matter. Ireland, Great Britain and also Sweden disagree. Marit Paulsen, (The People’s Party) who has been working with food issues and prevention of cruelty to animals for nine years within the EU Parliament says that the regulations suffice, but must be better applied. It’s the lack of inspections that is the problem. The British Minister of Environment is worried that more laws only would hinder the development of free trade. On February the 25th, two days ago, the story took yet another turn when it was found that the meat balls that are sold on the Swedish mall IKEA in the Chech Republic contained horse meat. IKEA now stops the selling of those meat balls.

Other animals have recently been debated in this country. Among them has been the wolf. In the beginning of the 1980’s there weren’t many wolves in Sweden, and there was a fierce debate whether the wolves should be allowed to exist in the Swedish fauna or not. Naturvårdsverket/The Swedish Wild Life Administration said yes: many farmers in western and northern Sweden said no. Wolves are being hunted illegally in Sweden and sometimes with connections to the eastern border areas of Norway. In recent times wolves have been seen more often even down south here in Scania. On January 5th a suspected wolf was seen in Råå outside Helsingborg in western Scania. Bertil Nilsson, administrative official for preditor issues at the County Administrative Board was called to the sight. It might have been a wolf he said from the tracks, but he couldn’t be sure. For little more than a year farmers and animal owners have been given the possibility to buy predator fences or game preserves, but only five have done that out of several hundreds in Scania/Skåne. One reason can be that it is expensive, despite a subsidy or allowance of 40 kronor per meter. Wolves are agile and might wander up to 60 kilometers each night. A wolf has been captured on film and photos on Söderslätt recently, and sheep have been torn to death in Esarp outside Staffanstorp and in Lönsboda. In yesterday’s issue of Svensk Jakt/Swedish Hunt Göran Enander, one of the Chiefs at the County Administrative Board, said that Scania/Skåne most likely had been visited by wolves at least three times this last year. He also said that this winter more sheep have been torn by wolves in Scania than in the western counties Värmland and Dalarna further north. The wolves are here to stay.

Taken all together there are many changes in our world that we must deal with. We must find ways to interact as humans on a local, regional, national and international arena. We must take care of our own heritage, but at the same time be flexible and open for new insights and realities. Taking care of our near and loved ones, taking care of ourselves and learn new ways to deal with laws, new technology, new people and a wild life that demands our attention.

Anders Moberg, February the 27th 2013

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