July 7, 2020


German abattoir's closure disrupts pig farming industry


The closure of one of Germany's largest slaughterhouses is disrupting pig farming in the country following an outbreak of the new coronavirus, an industry association said on Friday, Reuters reported.


Some 600,000 people in Guetersloh in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia were forced back into lockdown on June 23 after more than 1,500 workers at the Toennies slaughterhouse and meat processing plant tested positive for COVID-19.


The Toennies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck in North Rhine-Westphalia normally slaughters and processes between 12% to 14% of Germany's pigs and is an important part of Germany's pork industry, the Association of German pig farmers said. A date for the plant's reopening has not yet been announced.


"Each week of the plant's closure is forcing about 100,000 pigs to remain on farms even though they are ready to be slaughtered," said the association. "The pig farmers are the victims of the plant's closure."


The outbreak at the meat processing plant has sparked a debate about standards in Germany's food industry and its reliance on migrant labour, particularly from Romania.


Virus outbreaks at meat packing plants in the US have also disrupted pig farming.