Pig imports from the Netherlands doubled – who is behind it?

For several weeks, rumors have been circulating that German slaughterhouses are buying more pigs from abroad in order to put pressure on the domestic market. Moreover, it is tempting for the slaughterhouse, because the prices at the neighbors are sometimes much lower. Is it true that slaughterhouses in Germany buy fattening pigs abroad? If so, for what purpose, since there is no shortage of goods in the domestic market?

Most pigs from the Netherlands

The Netherlands has traditionally been the main supplier of slaughter pigs to Germany. Until now, imports from this country during the year an average of 9 thousand slaughter pigs per week† In calendar weeks 17 and 18, on the other hand, imports increased significantly to almost 19,000 animals, doubling.

Compared to the total slaughter in Germany, recently around 780,000 animals per week, it is relatively little (about 2.5%). Nevertheless, a few percentage points are often sufficient to disrupt the functioning of the sales market.

Who and why buy these animals?

When asked by www.topagrar.com, Vion explains that it has not imported slaughter pigs from its country to be slaughtered in German facilities for two years. After all, the Dutch slaughter giant has sufficient production capacity in the Netherlands.

A similar situation arises in Westfleisch. Purchasing manager Heribert Qualbrink says that no more slaughter animals have been bought in the Netherlands for a long time and that there are no plans to do so. On the contrary, focus on their own German partner farms, which means they now have more than enough stock.

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Tönnies buys, but…

With the leader, Tönnies, things are a bit more complicated. Without giving concrete figures, a spokesperson for Fabian Reinkemeier explains that Tönnies has been buying animals abroad for years. However, it is always pigs destined for various foreign animal quality and welfare programs, such as “Beter Leven”, “Tesco Welfare” or “Marks & Spencer”, which German breeders cannot provide.

“Products from pigs registered overseas are almost completely returned to these countries,” explains Reinkemeier.

He confirms that in week 18 the import quota was slightly higher than before. However, this was also due to the targeted demand from foreign customers for Dutch pork. He emphasized that these slaughtered animals do not burden the German market.

“We strongly reject the claim that we deliberately buy cheap foreign pigs to pressure the German market,” Reinkemeier emphasized.

Rumors about yellow license plates?

A spokesperson for Tönnies said he was irritated by the fact that sporadically spotted trucks with yellow number plates at abattoirs lead to discussions about alleged import of pigs from neighboring countries† Slaughterhouse Westfleisch is sometimes “suspicious” because of this. However, the company’s representatives claim that it is wrong, because they also work with Dutch shipping companies in the border area. They in turn transport fattening pigs from German farms.

Looks like it’s just a rumor?

A further search for a buyer for additional Dutch fattening pigs has also failed. Slaughterhouse Manten in Geldern (Rhineland) is surprised by the rumours.

– We have not slaughtered pigs from abroad for a long time – reports one of the managers. In Belgium, they only bought a few trains, he says, when fertilizer producers in Germany were reluctant to sell their animals in March, when the market was in high demand.

– With a surplus of goods, importing makes no sense – explains Sebastian Manten.

The situation is similar at Simon Fleisch’s factory in Wittlich, Rhineland-Palatinate.

“On average, we slaughter and cut up Dutch fattening pigs every two weeks,” explains John R. Krupp, Simon’s International Trade Manager. Also in the 17th and 18th calendar week they only got one train of pigs from this country.

compiled by Based on www.topagr.com

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