Cows allowed to visit Swedish nudist beaches in heatwave

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

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image captionCows are common sights on some European beaches, but Swedish nudist bathers in the south aren't happy

The government in southern Sweden have granted permission for cows to visit nudist beaches during the prolonged summer heatwave, despite complaints from locals, it's reported.

According to The Local news website, nudists have been complaining to officials in provincial Smaland about livestock visiting their beaches, saying that their presence is "unhygienic and could pose a health risk".

It says the roasting summer heat affecting much of continental Europe has led to drought throughout the country, and has meant that farmers have been struggling to feed their animals.

This has meant that some farmers have decided to slaughter their cattle earlier than usual; but others have instead decided to bring their livestock to nearby nudist beaches, in order to cool them down, public broadcaster SVT reports.

"When it's this dry, you don't want cows to be brought to slaughter out of necessity. They need to be able to bathe, eat and drink," municipal official Peter Bengtsson says.

Complaints from bathers have led to municipal Vaxjo's Culture and Leisure Department taking a vote on whether the cattle were ok to visit, and have ruled they "have just as much right to be there as the human visitors".

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Mr Bengtsson says that bathers should not be at risk of contracting infections such as E.Coli, but that farmers should refrain from taking cows in the water if there are people around who want to swim.

He noted that birds also frequent Smaland's nudist beaches, but said that if bathers express concerns about allergies or safety as a result of ground damage, officials may talk to the animals' owners.

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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