Almost a million pigs, around 220,000 cattle and two million chickens died in Bavaria last year before they were slaughtered or died in some other way. This emerges from a response from the Ministry of the Environment to a request from the Greens in the state parliament. In the parliamentary question, the ministry relies on figures from the years 2019 to 2021, according to which around 4.7 million pigs and 955,000 cattle per year were slaughtered in the Free State. “Every fifth pig and every fifth cow in Bavarian farms died before slaughter. That’s frightening,” said Paul Knoblach, spokesman for animal welfare for the Greens in the state parliament. The state government should no longer look the other way.
It also states: Animals that are delivered to the animal carcass disposal facilities (TBA) died through illness, weakness or accidents or were killed for these reasons. They could no longer be handed over for slaughter or were possibly untransportable. In the case of many animals, it must therefore be assumed that they suffered before they were disposed of. In view of the high numbers and the suffering of the animals behind them, Knoblach calls for a rethink in meat production: “The carcass disposal plants are the bottleneck when it comes to animal welfare problems. They are particularly visible here.” This shows with crystal clear clarity where there is a problem in the system. “So we have to change the system – and urgently.”
Although the animals that died mean an economic loss for farmers, many clung to husbandry practices that injured animals or caused poor hygiene. According to Knoblach, more veterinary staff is needed, systematic tracing of the animals from the disposal facilities to the farms, and better advice at the farms in order to solve the problems there. “We have to get down from the high numbers of fallen animals. A digital and mandatory animal health database for Bavaria could help to identify farms that have special problems,” he said.
For Knoblach, animal-friendly husbandry is required: “Our animals must be given sufficient exercise, sufficient space, soft lying surfaces, species-appropriate feed.” The pressure on the animals must be reduced through more extensive husbandry conditions and slower-growing breeds – “away from the turbo cows. This will give us healthier, more robust animals.” Animals should not be pure production goods.
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