GERMANY, Berlin. The German Federal Veterinary Association fears that the slaughterhouse closures will lead to overcrowded stables. The federal government is to work with the parties involved to find solutions.
The Federal Veterinary Association (Bundestierärztekammer, BTK) has called on the federal government to immediately convene a crisis summit involving veterinarians, farmers, slaughterhouse operators and competent authorities in order to quickly find solutions to the current situation following the closure of slaughterhouses. "The sudden loss of slaughtering and cutting capacities has immediate effects on the livestock farms and the animals in the stables," warned BTK President Dr. Uwe Tiedemann. This could lead to problems relevant to animal welfare.
According to the BTK, it cannot be excluded that overcrowding in the stables at high summer temperatures could lead to circulatory problems and the death of animals. The transport routes to alternative slaughterhouses, some of which are located abroad, would take longer and cause additional stress to the animals. In addition, a backlog with corresponding overcrowding is to be expected in chick and piglet rearing. It would be difficult to compensate for a lack of slaughtering capacity by other locations, as the necessary hygiene measures and distance rules would already result in significant capacity losses. Furthermore, fewer employees would be available due to the industry-wide tests and numerous open test results.
In the opinion of BTK, a short-term increase of slaughter capacities in slaughterhouses not affected so far will be difficult. It is to be expected that the situation will further intensify. A crisis summit to solve the problem is therefore necessary. "The concentration on a few large slaughterhouses, which was at the expense of regional operating structures, is now taking its revenge", Tiedemann stated. However, the necessary discussion about a change of the system was not sufficient in the acute situation. The political demand to temporarily reduce stock numbers is not effective in the short term.
Practicable, animal welfare-friendly solutions must be found for the animals that are now being fattened and reared, said Tiedemann. This is where the husbandry and slaughterhouses in close cooperation with the veterinary authorities are called upon. It must not be allowed that animals for slaughter are no longer purchased and that the problem solution is left to the animal husbandry companies alone.