The corona outbreaks in the major butcher’s shop Tönnies are still present to everyone. Hundreds of Eastern European butchers were also infected in other German slaughterhouses. The reason: They live in precarious conditions, share a room and the sanitary facilities. Conditions in which the coronavirus could spread quickly.
And yet: German pork is in great demand in Switzerland. Import numbers soared this year, reports the “SonntagsZeitung”. It was around 5300 tons in the first nine months. Of this, 4400 tons came from Germany. Compared to the same period in the previous year, the increase in German products is 34 percent, and compared to the same period in 2018, almost ten times as much German pork was imported.
«Conditions cruel to animals»
Animal rights activists go to the barricades because of this. “It is worrying that more and more pork is being imported from Germany. Because there are industrial production conditions that must be described as cruel to animals, ”says Stefan Flückiger, managing director of Swiss Animal Protection, in the“ Sunday newspaper ”.
But it is not only consumers who are apparently paying more attention to the price than to the origin. From a financial point of view, importing cheap German meat is also worthwhile for industry and trade. “The production costs in Germany are so low that imported cheap pork is cheaper than Swiss meat for dealers and manufacturers despite customs duties,” says Flückiger.
“Range temporarily extended”
Also at Proviande, the branch organization of the Swiss meat industry, they say: “The low asking prices made up for the high customs fees.” And a spokesman for the Federal Office for Agriculture told the Sunday newspaper: “The prices for German pork are particularly lucrative.”
Just why are the two big companies, Migros and Coop, increasingly relying on German imported meat? Have they made it their mission to support local agriculture and look after animal welfare? “Due to the pandemic, the demand for pork exceeded the Swiss supply, which is why the range had to be temporarily expanded,” says Coop.
And at Migros: “For processed pork products, Migros had to fall back on imported products due to the high demand – like all other retailers.” (pbe)