Germany may buy pigs ready for slaughter after Christmas

German LNV Minister Julia Klöckner does not rule out buying up large stocks of unsold veal and pork, but not at the moment. State subsidies to stock unsold meat are an option, but not immediately planned.

Now that demand for meat will be higher in the pre-Christmas period, the German minister called government intervention "too early at this point." Mid-January would be an appropriate time as demand is likely to be weak, ”she said in a video conference with German agricultural organizations.

The German meat industry is currently struggling with a surplus of about 600,000 pigs ready for slaughter, due to the loss of export orders and limitation of slaughter capacity. There, the consequences of the African Swine Fever and the earlier covid-19 infections in the German slaughterhouses coincide.

Klöckner said she has asked the German employment minister for more flexible application of the recently tightened labor regulations in slaughterhouses. She called on slaughterhouses and meat packers on Friday to work weekends and holidays to catch up.

“The situation has worsened due to corona-related slaughter capacity restrictions across the EU,” Klöckner told an online meeting of agricultural associations. Farmers' associations complain that pigs in particular need to be kept longer on farms, even though they are ready for sale, causing prices to drop.

A study earlier this year found that a third of German pig farmers are considering stopping, especially if a warm clean-up is implemented. That investigation was initiated before the cessation of exports and before the German Bundestag passed stricter environmental and labor laws.

An InterPIG report previously showed that housing costs in Germany will increase in the coming years. For example, the mating barn must be converted to group housing within eight years and the farrowing sows must be kept in a free-range system within 15 years.