Longer working hours in German slaughterhouses?

Germany's Minister of Agriculture wants to enable slaughterhouses and meat packers to work longer hours in order to reduce the backlog in slaughtering operations that has built up during the Corona crisis. German farmers' associations complain that due to the reduced slaughter and meat processing capacity after the coronavirus crisis, the animals have to wait longer for the farms. "The situation on some farms is tense and the livestock owners are concerned," said Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner in a statement. "An animal welfare problem develops because animals that are ready for slaughter cannot be taken in." "The capacity in some slaughterhouses and meat packers has been reduced." A number of German meat packaging companies became COVID-19 hotspots this summer, including the large Tönnies slaughterhouse and the meat packaging plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. This resulted in a major restructuring of the industry with higher standards, but the changes resulted in German slaughterhouses reducing their capacity as well.The German state governments should consider granting slaughterhouses and meat packers special permits so that they can work longer, especially on Sundays and public holidays, said Klöckner. However, government subsidies for private warehousing to store unsold meat are only a last resort, she added. The authorities have ordered that the Weidemark slaughterhouse facility in Sögel in northern Germany should be closed on the weekend after an outbreak of the corona virus.

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