Visit Wiesn Bull Masters

Munich – When you read this story, the largest bull in the pictures – a good 700 kg – has been suspended in a cooling system for about three weeks, divided in half. They will be stuck there for another ten days. Then you can eat the bulls with potato salad or in bread rolls, as a roast, as a sausage or as a pie. Then the Oktoberfest begins.

The approximately 120 bulls eaten annually at the bull roaster at Oktoberfest all come from Gut Karlshof in Ismaning. The farm is located a few kilometers northeast of Munich and is owned by the city. In addition to 570 bulls, 75 geese and 20 chickens live there. This also includes 570 hectares of farmland and a biogas plant.

Bulls have a regular free range for the first few weeks.
Bulls have a regular free range for the first few weeks.
© Photo: Daniel von Lauber
Bulls have a regular free range for the first few weeks.

Pictured: Daniel von Lauber

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A good life for animals even without an environmental label

The farm will have an environmental label by 2024. However, if you think Andreas Huber, head of Gut Karlshof, doesn’t need much change when it comes to keeping bulls. The farmer is convinced that the animals actually have a good life today. At least 16 months – This is how long most bulls spend on the farm before they are slaughtered.

Bulls reach Gott Karlshof about six months and weigh about 230 kilograms. It was bought by a Huber employee in Kirchheim, just a few kilometers away. There is an auction of young cattle every second Monday. Sometimes in groups of eight, sometimes in groups of six or alone, the animals in Kirchheim run into a ring. If you wish to bid, raise a white banner with a number on it.

The average cost for small animals is about 900 euros

All the animals auctioned in Kirchheim come from the region – but most are from traditional farms. If Gut Karlshof wants the eco-label, the company should buy its young bulls in other parts of Bavaria, Hubert says.

Their day consists mainly of one activity: eating.
Their day consists mainly of one activity: eating.
© Photo: Daniel von Lauber
Their day consists mainly of one activity: eating.

Pictured: Daniel von Lauber

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On average, a small bull costs around 900 euros, says Huber. How do you know if the price is worth it? “It’s hard to explain,” Hooper replies. “You need the right eye.” So? “The fur should be soft, the eyes should not be too low, and the ears should not hang down.”

Andreas Huber is one of those guys who doesn’t talk much. He grew up on a farm about ten kilometers away. He worked at Gut Karlshof for 20 years and was the manager for two years.

While Hopper was talking, he looked at a meadow. There are about 90 little bulls running in circles there. They were let out of their stalls – like every morning. Hooper says animal welfare has become increasingly important to city farmers for years: “In the ’80s there wasn’t even hay in the stalls.”

Bulls eat up to 30 kg of feed per day

Today you can hear the chirping of birds in the stable next to the meadow. “When swallows are nesting in the barn, the air in it is good,” Huber says. “It is the rule of a hundred-year-old peasant.”

However, the bulls only stay in the barn with the meadow for about two months. Then they come to a place they never came back to roam outdoors. Some animals lie in hay, and most of them chew: bulls eat up to 30 kilograms per day, feed made of corn, straw, hay, milled grain and spent grain, these are leftovers from fermentation.

Wiesn’s bulls are captured two days after visiting AZ. It weighs about 700 kilograms. How does it feel when the stables suddenly emptied? A question someone with bulls in the barn should answer every day: Benjamin Kotzinger, 41, a green dungaree, a strong handshake, a guy who says he likes standing in the dirt.

Before farmer Benjamin Kotzinger goes to the bulls, he whistles to get the animals' attention.  then:
Before farmer Benjamin Kotzinger goes to the bulls, he whistles to get the animals’ attention. Because: “If you become 500k serviced, you lose.”
© Photo: Daniel von Lauber
Before farmer Benjamin Kotzinger goes to the bulls, he whistles to get the animals’ attention. Because: “If you become 500k serviced, you lose.”

Pictured: Daniel von Lauber

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Koetsinger wants to keep animals away with a clear conscience

“I eat meat,” he says publicly. “So we can’t get around that.” He also adds: “If it wasn’t for that, the bulls wouldn’t be here.” The purpose of their existence is that one day they will be divided on a plate. “You take care of the animals, you take care of them, but you are always well aware that they are leaving.” And when the time comes, Kotzinger wants to send his animals away with a clear conscience — and he can do it.

Its chief superior, Christina Frank (CSU), who is responsible for municipal goods as a municipal employee, sees it similarly. Bull roll is her favorite Oktoberfest food – also because she knows that animals are treated well while being bred.

What Kotzinger appreciates most is the calm that the bulls radiate. He says you can stand with a bull in the stable. With a bull it will be dangerous. Both are male cattle. The difference: the bulls are castrated and therefore quieter. However, animals should respect him, says Kotzinger: “If 500 kilograms is shy, you lose.”

‘Nose to tail’: almost the whole animal is used

So he always whistles before he enters the enclosure to get the animals’ attention. Her press spokeswoman says respect is also important to her Ochsenbraterei. And so almost the whole animal is used. “From nose to tail,” she says. So from nose to tail. There was even a benefit for the skin: it is said to be used to make aprons worn by waiters at the Oktoberfest.

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