Slaughter rates in Sweden run at around 500,000 cattle and calves. The number of milking cows remained unaltered between the years 2000 and 2001 but the cattle kill this year is expected to increase by around 1% compared with 2001.

This is due to the fact that many milk producers have ceased production lately and also to the decreased export of live calves. The number of beef cows has increased by about 3%.

Sweden is one of the few countries to offer tangible rewards to farmers for premium hides under the Faultless Hide programme. Dehorning is a routine procedure in the overwhelming number of cattle herds.

Some years ago, a harder penalty system was introduced at the slaughterhouses. This consists of three levels (SEK200, 400 and 1,000) depending on the amount of manure attached to the hide.

The reasons for the penalties are primarily due to the hygiene of the carcase but also the hide quality. The judgement is made by government employed veterinarians. Since the implementation of the system there have been only a few reports of hides heavily contaminated by dung.

Vaccination against ringworm is greatly encouraged, to the extent that KHi, the farmers’ co-operative, act as distributors in Sweden for the live attenuated vaccine Bovilis Ringvac. Vaccination is one of the requirements of the Faultless Hide programme, as is the replacement of barbed wire with electrical fencing. Last year, 118,000 or 25% of all calves in the dairy herds were vaccinated and so far this year an increase is predicted.

Prophelactic treatment against ectoparasites is performed in all hides connected with the Faultless Hide. Like the ringworm vaccine, the synthetic pyrethroids needed are sold through KHi. About twice the amount sold within Faultless Hide programme is sold to other farmers, which contributes to higher quality on other assortments.