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Germany aims to introduce animal welfare levy after abattoir scandal

Germany’s Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner is pushing for an animal welfare levy in a bid to clean up the meat trade.

29 June 2020, at 9:54am

According to reporting in Reuters, Germany’s meat industry is in the spotlight after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in an abattoir.

The outbreak at the meat processing plant near Guetersloh has landed more than 600,000 people back in lockdown and raised a debate about standards in Germany's food industry and its reliance on migrant labour, particularly from Romania.

Saying that meat shouldn’t be an “everyday junk food”, Kloechner stressed that, “attempts are being made to lure consumers with dumping prices” for meat and sausages, and that the price pressures fed down to livestock owners.

"That's why we believe an animal welfare levy is necessary," she told a news conference after meeting representatives of the meat industry, retail sector and consumer associations.

"We come further than ever before," she said of efforts to forge a consensus on a levy, the revenue from which would be used to improve the living conditions of animals for slaughter.

A ban on selling meat products below cost must be enforced by the authorities and possibly tightened, Kloeckner said. She aimed to counter the risk of driving meat processing abroad by pushing for European animal welfare labelling on meat goods.

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