Berlin More animal welfare, fair prices and better working conditions: these are the plans of Federal Food Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) and her party and state colleagues Ursula Heinen-Esser (NRW) and Barbara Otte-Kinast (NS) after the “Meat Industry Talk” on Friday in Dusseldorf.
“We need better prices for meat,” said Klöckner after the end of the conversation with animal owners, slaughterhouses, the food industry, the food trade and consumers. Representatives of the cartel office, animal rights activists and veterinarians were also present. Meat entrepreneur Clemens Tönnies was involved in the conference, as was the farmers’ association.
The meat industry had come under increasing criticism in the wake of increased coronavirus outbreaks in slaughterhouses. “We are currently experiencing an opportunity to readjust the meat industry,” said Klöcker. “We’ll do that.”
Hardly any inhibitions
In Germany, dumping prices for meat and sausages are trying to lure consumers into the trade, said the CDU politician: “There are hardly any inhibitions left.” Therefore, she would consider a price ban on meat based on ethical considerations. The ban on selling goods below cost must be enforced by the authorities and possibly tightened, Klöckner said.
Meat and sausages are not just any product. Meat should not become a luxury, but also not everyday junk. That is why she considers a European animal welfare tax to be necessary. Klöckner was unable to provide a precise statement as to how expensive meat could become.
“We measure Julia Klöckner by her actions. It must use the German EU Council Presidency to set the course for socially and ecologically compatible agriculture at European level, ”said Olaf Bandt, Chairman of the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND).
Ursula Heinen-Esser reported that retailers had suggested introducing reference prices, “which amazed us”. But consumers are also challenged. There is a high level of verbal openness to pay more, said Klöckner. But a high level of perseverance in what ultimately wanted to be paid for meat.
60 percent of pig farming in two countries
It announced that it would promote stable conversions for more animal welfare. A kind of state conversion and maintenance premium – analogous to organic farming – for those who care for more animal welfare in their stables will also be examined. Regarding the controversial contracts for workers in slaughterhouses, she said that the meat industry is giving up its opposition to the abandonment of contracts, “Mr. Tönnies said that too.”
Barbara Otte-Kinast announced the promotion of a model region for sustainable livestock farming for Lower Saxony. North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, with around 12,000 pig-keeping companies and more than 15 million pigs, house around 60 percent of the companies and animals in Germany.
Gitta Connemann, deputy parliamentary group leader of the Union in the Bundestag, called for a national pact for livestock husbandry – if necessary with legal intervention. “Higher standards come at a price,” she said.
If everyone wanted to maintain their profit margin, Connemann said, the extra costs would be incurred by the producer, the farmers. They are the most important, but also the weakest link in the chain. “In the past, they have repeatedly paid for costly requirements on the meat production value chain.”
More: Mass tests and the “Investigation Commission Carne” – How Gütersloh fights against the second wave.