German pig prices tumble after slaughterhouse closes due to COVID-19

German pig prices are in a steep fall as a huge German abattoir remains closed after a coronavirus outbreak among workers.

13 July 2020, at 7:00am

Reuters reports that the closure is forcing farmers to sell slaughter-ready animals at low prices.

The Toennies slaughterhouse and meat packing plant has been closed for over three weeks after 1,500 workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The outbreak has forced 600,000 people in the Guetersloh region surrounding the plant back into lockdown. The restrictions began easing this week.

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

However, the plant's closure means farmers must accept lower prices from abattoirs for animals that are slaughter weight, the association of German pig farmers said.

German pig prices fell to around 1.47 euros a kilo this week from 1.60 euros a kilo last week and 1.66 euros a kilo three weeks ago as the Toennies slaughterhouse closed, the association said.

The association called on the Toennies plant to be reopened as soon as possible.

"The pressure is increasing every day and the prices for slaughterhouse pigs are in free fall," the association said.

Pig farmers are the main victims of the closure and the slaughterhouse should be reopened with a suitable health and safety scheme for its workers, it said.

The Guetersloh local government is still in negotiations about a hygiene plan with the plant, which has provisionally been ordered to close until 17 July.

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