The German Agricultural Minister Julia Kloeckner has called for meat factories to work longer hours to deal with a backlog of animals after several major meatpackers were closed due to Covid-19 outbreaks.

"The situation on some farms is tense and livestock producers are concerned," Kloeckner said in a statement.

An animal welfare protection problem is developing as animals ready for slaughter cannot be picked up.

"Capacity in some slaughterhouses and meatpackers has been reduced."

A series of German meat packing plants became Covid-19 hotspots this summer including the massive Toennies slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck.

This caused a major shake-up for the meat packing industry with higher standards imposed, but the changes meant German slaughterhouses were also forced reduced their capacity.

3 more cases of ASF

In related news from Germany, three more cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been detected in wild boars in Germany.

According to Reuters, the cases have been confirmed in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

These latest cases bring the total number of confirmed cases of ASF in Germany to 49 since the first case was detected a month ago (September 10).

The federal agriculture ministry in Germany says that all cases of ASF have so far been in wild boars and not in any pig farms.

The latest three cases are in the same area that the first cases were detected in September.

German authorities have been searching for dead wild boar in the Brandenburg region in a effort to analyse the extent of the spread of the disease.

Previously, the government in Germany said: “The hunting of wild boar is significantly intensified.”

China Bans Import Of German Pork

Last month, China decided to ban the import of German pork as a result of the ASF outbreak.

The ban is an enormous blow for German pork producers, who exported over €1 billion worth of pork to China last year.

After ASF forced China to cull around 50% of all its pigs since 2018, it turned to the global markets for pork, which was a boost for the German pork industry, but also drove up prices in Germany and around the world.