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German pig industry suffers after slaughterhouse closure

German pig farmers experience significant disruption after one of the country’s largest abattoir’s closes due to a coronavirus outbreak.

3 July 2020, at 12:12pm

According to reporting in Reuters, nearly 600,000 people in Guetersloh in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia have been forced back into lockdown on 23 June after 1,500 workers at the Toennies abattoir and processing plant tested positive for COVID-19.

The Toennies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck in North Rhine-Westphalia normally slaughters and processes between 12 percent to 14 percent 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.

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