Swedish supermarket keeping a close eye on Danish piglet scandal

ICA concerned by methods to put down animals used by farmers

The Swedish supermarket chain ICA is considering stopping its imports of Danish pork in the wake of the scandal concerning the methods used to put down unwanted piglets born on Danish pig farms.

Hundreds of thousands of newly-born piglets that are too small, injured or sick are put down by Danish farmers every year. The farmers grab the piglets by the hind legs and swing them hard into the ground so that their necks are instantly broken and their skulls crushed.

"For us it is important that no animal suffers for nothing and that the farmer follows guidelines in their country, in this case Denmark," Ulrika Borg, ICA's head of communications, told The Local Sweden.

"We have not spoken to Denmark before about this particular issue, but we will have to follow this up."

But as harsh as the method sounds, it seems that the Danish farmers are keeping within guidelines, and that the animal welfare council Dyreværnsrådet approves of the method.

READ MORE: Pork exports to Sweden taking a beating

A right porker
It's not the first time that ICA has put its foot down in the face of Danish pork issues. In May last year, the chain banned Danish pork from two of its stores in Skurup and in Göteborg and replaced it with pork produced in Sweden.

Danish pork also caused a debate in Sweden a few months later in November after a high amount of multi-resistant MRSA bacteria was found in imported pork from Denmark and Germany.

ICA has yet to decide what action to take this time with the piglets, but did reveal that it runs campaigns promoting Swedish pork to its customers. However, Danish pork is cheaper and about 20 percent of the pork sold by ICA stems from Denmark.

In 2013, Danish pork exports to Sweden were worth 1.22 billion kroner.