The well-being of Swedish farm animals is regulated through strict rules in the Swedish animal welfare law Djurskyddslagen. For example in Sweden the crating of lactating sows, or beak trimming of laying hens is not permitted, which are common practices in the rest of the European Union. Another notable rule is the obligatory access to pasture for cows during summer time. Depending on country region, legislation requires cows to have access to grazing during summer for at least two to four months. Though not everybody is in favour of the current legislation, most Swedes seem proud of this tradition in its agriculture. Many Swedish people go and watch the yearly kosläpp which are organised all through the country.
“These days are so popular that you have to reserve your tickets in advance through dairy cooperative Arla.”
‘Excuse me, what kind of slap?’, I can hear you think. It was my first reaction as well, however, I don’t think this beautiful Swedish word is very translatable. Literally it would kind of mean the ‘release of the cows’. In practise it has become a festive event on the first day when farmers let their cows go out on the pasture. Besides watching the cows jump around in their excitement, some farms host some extra activities. These days are so popular that you have to reserve your tickets in advance through dairy cooperative Arla. If you’re in Sweden, go and have a look at their website to see when a farm in your area hosts their kosläpp! Our SLU research dairy farm at Lövsta will host a släpp as well, including lectures about ongoing research and possibilities to have a peek into the stables and at the machinery.
I really love this initiative as I think it is a good way to reduce the gap between consumer and farmer. It makes the dairy industry transparent and is a fun way for children to learn about farm animals. And as an (international) student it is a nice opportunity to get a feeling for Swedish animal farming, so what are you waiting for? 😉 No time to go out and watch? No worries, this year you can even have a look at the cow’s dance through livestream.
Do dairy farms open their doors to consumers on the first day of the pasture season as well in your country? Feel free to comment or ask questions below.