• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Pig farmers ignore EU animal protection laws

The Local · 13 Feb 2013, 07:21

Published: 13 Feb 2013 07:21 GMT+01:00

Der Spiegel magazine recently met a group of activists secretly breaking into Germany's pig farms in the dead of night to document wide-spread flouting of laws designed to improve conditions for pigs kept in large-scale livestock compounds.

The magazine uncovered shocking scenes, including a dead piglet left lying on a walkway and a sow covered in wounds from the bars of a narrow cage in which she could not lie down.

New European Union rules, which have been in the pipeline for eleven years, finally came into force on January 1st this year after a six year grace period.

Among other things, the rules stipulate that pregnant sows can no longer be kept in a narrow barred cage for the entire three month duration of their pregnancy, but must be transferred to a larger group pen after five weeks, before returning to an individual cage to give birth.

Individual cages must now by law be big enough for animals to lie down on their sides with their legs stretched out and must be fitted with toys to prevent the animals biting each others tails out of boredom.

Both these rules are consistently broken, activists told the magazine's reporter, who personally accompanied them on a night expedition to a pig farm in Vechta, near Bremen in north western Germany.

There, activists filmed sows kept alone and covered in wounds from forcing their legs through bars of cages which were too small for them and which contained nothing to occupy the animals.

They photographed dead piglets lying on the walkway floors or stacked up in wheelbarrows ready to be carted off, wrote the magazine.

In their fight to raise awareness, the activists regularly pass on the photos and video footage they collect to the Animal Rights Watch (Ariwa) organisation where it is published on their website.

The European Union could now take Germany to court for breaking the rules, said Der Spiegel.

Even the ZDS central association of German pig producers admits that an estimated one third Germany's 15,000 pig farms have not implemented the changes - despite the six year grace period.

Story continues below…

One reason for farms failing to comply with the rules is a lack of money, the German Agricultural Ministry told the magazine.

German pig farmers are under growing pressure to keep production costs as low as possible, it said, as the European pork industry tries to sell its excess products on the world market.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:56 February 13, 2013 by Englishted
No disrespect ,but I have found that Germans ignore most laws unless somebody enforces them.

e.g. how many hard hats do you see on a building site? or parking on disabled parking places on supermarket car parks.
11:12 February 13, 2013 by steve_glienicke
Correct Englishted, there are many EU laws they flaunt here, and use same old excuss of things being mis-understood in translation!

Labour Law forcing companies to give a work break if you work longer than 6 hours, most companies insist you use your own personal time for the 30 minute break, but if you do that, it is not exactly a work break is it, but you giving yourself a break, a clear and direct violation of the labour law, but done to get more work hours out of people, thats just one example i have come across here.
11:51 February 13, 2013 by raandy
Easy and not too expensive to pass a law, but costly for enforcement.The Germans enforce more strongly laws that bear fruit , like tax , customs laws and motor vehicle.The no smoking in pubs seems to be rarely if ever enforced, along with animal protection,and labor for example.
13:39 February 13, 2013 by ichbines
You are fooling yourself if you think the supplier of McDonalds and Co. comply with animal protection standards. Maybe some do but the root of the problem is meat demand. Eat less meat and these things will slowly disappear. People think they must eat tons of meat, but it is simply not true. You are bombarded with minerals on a plant based whole foods diet. You can get enough protein and b12 on just a few servings of meat per week. Try it. Your weight will go down and you will feel better.
00:31 February 14, 2013 by Brint
About 15 years ago Channel 4 in the UK did a undercover documentary exposing the cruelty inflicted in some British pig farms, considering that research has shown that pigs can be more intelligent than dogs I found the program so sickening that I haven't touched any pork products since and whilst not eliminating red meat entirely from my diet, I have managed to drastically reduce my consumption over recent years in favour of more fruit and vegetables and now mainly rely on fish and poultry.
Today's headlines
Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach suicide bomber confirms Isis loyalty in video
Police remove evidence from the bombers residence. Photo: DPA

The man who blew himself up in Ansbach, Bavaria, on Sunday evening, injuring 12 people, recorded a video in which he pledged his allegiance to terror group Isis.

Top 10 German firms with the highest-paid employees
Photo: DPA

Want to know which companies shell out the most for salaries?

How will Germany change after string of bloody attacks?
A policeman in Ansbach on Sunday evening. Photo: DPA

Within seven days Germany has been hit by four bloody attacks on innocent people on its streets and in a train. What does this unprecedented string of murders mean for the country?

After attacks, minister rejects blanket suspicion of refugees
Thomas de Maiziere. Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Monday cautioned Germans against indiscriminately branding all refugees a security threat after a rash of attacks over the last week.

What we know about the Reutlingen machete attack
Police arrest the attacker. Photo: DPA

... and what we don't.

Munich shooting
Police arrest possible accomplice of Munich gunman
Mourners in Munich. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Munich believe that a friend of the teenager who murdered nine people at a Munich shopping centre may have known about his plans.

Ansbach suicide attack
What we know about the Ansbach suicide bomber
The attacker's rucksack. Photo: DPA

He had had his asylum application rejected and had twice attempted suicide, say authorities.

Ansbach suicide attack
Suicide bomber attacks bar in Bavaria
Photo: DPA

A Syrian migrant set off an explosion at a bar in southern Germany that killed himself and wounded a dozen others late Sunday, authorities said, the third attack to hit Bavaria in a week.

 'One dead and two injured' in Germany machete attack
News channel NTV said there were scenes of panic in the city centre following the attack. Photo: DPA

A 21-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker killed a woman and injured two people with a machete Sunday in the southwest German city of Reutlingen in an incident local police said did not bear the hallmarks of a "terrorist attack".

Munich gunman planned attacks for one year: officials
Vigils continue in Munich to commemorate the victims, seven of whom were teenagers. Photo: DPA

The teenage gunman who killed nine people in Munich on Friday had been planning his attack for a year, according to German authorities.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,742
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd