EU countries produce less meat and slaughter fewer pigs

Both pork and beef production in the EU-27 fell to the lowest levels in more than a decade last year. According to Eurostat, only 162.5 million pigs were slaughtered in the EU Member States in the first three quarters; 14.6 million (8.2%) less than in the same period a year earlier. 

The quantity of pork fell by an average of 7.7 percent to 15.2 million tons. Production will probably eventually fall below the 21 million tonnes mark, which was last the case in 2009. Final data for the whole of 2023 is not yet available. 

It appears that none of the 27 EU countries produced more pork last year than the year before. The blow is greatest in Denmark, where 20 percent fewer pigs were slaughtered. In cattle production, only the Netherlands and the Czech Republic recorded a slight plus; for all their neighboring countries there is a continuing contraction.

In Germany, the decrease in the number of pigs slaughtered was about 8 percent (43.8 million; minus 3 million). This was in line with the EU average. Since 2016, German meat production has been declining. Last year, 48 million pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and horses were slaughtered. 

Belgian slaughterhouses slaughtered more than nine million pigs last year. That is 11 percent (1.2 million pigs) less than the year before.  The number of pigs slaughtered in Belgium was the last time at such a low level in 1990. Austria and Switzerland also saw fewer slaughters and lower meat production last year.

The decline was smallest in Romania, Hungary and Poland, at 3 to 4 percent. In the pig stronghold of Spain, 7.2 percent fewer, albeit heavier, animals were slaughtered (39 million animals), resulting in a weight volume decrease of only 4.6 percent.