LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg. In the first quarter of 2020, fewer pigs were cut up in notifiable slaughterhouses in the European Union than in the same period of the previous year. However, slaughterings increased in some larger producer countries.
According to data from the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), the number of animals slaughtered in the 27 member states fell by 544,000 or 0.9% to 62.17 mill. However, because pigs were often heavier to deliver to slaughterhouses, meat production fell by 0.5% to 5.89 mill. t, less than the number of animals processed. Initial data indicate that the decline in slaughter volumes continued throughout Europe in the corona month of April.
According to the statisticians from Luxembourg, however, contrary to the negative EU trend, slaughterings increased in some larger producer countries. These included Spain, where with 14.52 mill. pigs 346,000 or 2.4% more animals were hooked than in the first quarter of 2019. The Iberians have thus overtaken Germany not only in terms of the number of animals kept but now also in terms of the number of slaughters. In terms of the quantity of pork produced, Spain was only 8,000 t behind Germany at 1.33 mill. t.
In Germany the number of pigs cut up in the reportable slaughterhouses rose by 0.4% to 13.99 mill. units compared to the first quarter of 2019. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), however, significantly fewer animals were again slaughtered on local farms in April, with the result that the total volume was 0.8% lower than in the first four months of 2019.
The consequences of the Corona crisis are clearly noticeable in the slaughtering statistics for Italy. According to Eurostat, the number of pigs processed there fell by 422,000 units or 14% to 2.60 mill. animals compared with the first quarter; pigmeat production slumped by more than 20% to 312,000 t.
In addition to lower imports and farm closures, it cannot be ruled out that not all production reports reached the statisticians in Luxembourg due to the corona confusion. In addition, sharp declines in pig slaughterings were reported for Poland with 8.8% to 5.15 mill. units and for Romania with 9.8% to 823,000 units, which is probably also related to African swine fever (ASF).