Swine influences

In a TV programme that aired this summer, a leading spokesman for Sweden’s dairy farmers let it slip that agricultural technology had now come so far that farmers should be excused from letting their cows out to pasture during the summer.

This caused quite a furore. Elisabet Höglund wrote a scathing column in the tabloid Expressen, and the dairy farmer made a half-hearted apology.

The episode exemplified the paradox that characterises Swedish agriculture: the more “modern” farmers try to be, the more outmoded they are. Do today’s milk-fed, Disney-tamed, garden programme-loving consumers prefer assembly-line food to food from clover pastures? I don’t think so. But it seems agriculture still does.

A few months ago Filter magazine published an ambitious story on pig farming in Sweden and Denmark. The reporter visited places that included a large-scale intensive pig farm in Sweden outside Laholm. The owner gave a tour of the aut...

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