German Animal Welfare Office eV
The German Animal Welfare Office has shocking video and photo materials from seven Westfleisch suppliers. In all of the documented operations, pigs are tortured, and sometimes even mistreated by staff. The provinces of Libby, Hoxter, Paderborn, Warrendorf, Steinfurt and Borken (in northwestern Germany) and the region of Hameln-Pyrmont (in Lower Saxony) were affected. Westfleisch is one of the largest meat producers in Germany and has its own slaughterhouse. The meat company supplies all known supermarket and discount chains.
The photos were taken in the past few months and sent to the German Animal Welfare Office. It shows catastrophic conditions and flagrant violations of animal welfare law in all fattening operations. Some of the photos show seriously injured animals that have apparently not been treated by a vet –As in the case of the supplier company Westfleisch in Hessisch Oldendorf, County Hameln-Pyrmont. Hidden cameras on the farm filmed how animals in need were simply left to their own devices. The recordings also show bloody tails and ears. Jan Beaver, chief executive of the German Animal Welfare Office, criticizes: “It’s a real horror barn, the animals suffer greatly and the operator simply does not take care of the animals.” The company participates in the Animal Welfare Initiative and has received around €200,000 in EU subsidies to improve the environment and animal welfare in recent years. “The animals don’t benefit from it, they suffer,” Beaver says. However, one of the main allegations is that pigs are outright abused using electric shocks when transported to the Westfleisch slaughterhouse. “Extensive use of an electronic shocker is prohibited by law for good reason, but at this company it’s clearly part of everyday life,” says Beaver. The stable operator is a resident of the city association of CDU Hessisch-Oldendorf and must be familiar with the laws.
At the supplier company Westfleisch in Ebenborn, Steinfurt County, electric shock is constantly used when loading animals, sometimes even on animals’ heads. “Obviously it’s just about getting the pigs into the Westfleisch tanker more quickly, protecting the animals doesn’t play a role at all,” Beaver says. Some animals have bloody bruises and cats have bloody ears on their skin. The pigs had to live in their dung in one barn, apparently the sick pen. “The health conditions are miserable, and no animal can be healthy here,” Beaver says. The video also shows the slaughter of a pig on the farm. The meat will then likely be sold via the K&K supermarket chain, at least that’s what the sign on the kiosk indicates, or via their own Facebook page. There the worker presents himself as “a farmer around the corner”. But you won’t find the hairy ranch on the farm, where 4,000 pigs are kept in a 150-meter-long fattening facility.
In 2017, violations of animal welfare law were found at a company in Borgentreich in the county of Höxter. At that time, the animals suffered from painful eye infections, possibly due to the ammonia content in the settled air. At the time, these violations were identified by the animal rights organization and the responsible veterinary office, but nothing has changed to this day. Even current records show that the animals still had the same problems five years later. In the video, the investigation team can be seen wearing portable gas content gauges for their own safety – the alarm goes off multiple times. “Some pigs can barely see,” Beaver says. “The animals suffer, but veterinary treatment doesn’t seem to happen.” The operator must already be an expert, after all has been a partner of Westfleisch’s swine cooperation since 1990.
A pig farm in Beckum, Warndorf District, has been supplying Westfleisch with pigs for some time. Video recordings from the barn show animals with open wounds and healthy ones. Some pigs are no longer able to perform. Beaver criticizes “In a middle lane there is a pig that is seriously injured and urgently needs veterinary assistance. It is separated, but without adequate food and water.” Although banned, it is still the practice on many pig farms. These terms are not unique to the company. The recordings show a pig that is no longer able to get up on its own. She desperately needs help, but is simply left to her own devices. “In this barn, cruelty to animals is the order of the day,” Beaver says. It’s hard to believe, but this company is recognized by the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture as a training company. It has also received more than 100,000 euros in subsidies from the European Union in recent years, among other things to improve animal welfare. The same worker regularly demonstrates in Berlin against the high standards of animal welfare in animal husbandry. He is also an active member of the Land Connectivity Association (LSV). Among other things, the group campaigns against sedentary nighttime searches. “Given the circumstances, that’s not surprising,” Beaver said.
It is also difficult to get the pictures from the suppliers of Westfleisch in Kalletal (Lippe region), Salzkotten (Paderborn region) and Velen (Borken region). Here, too, injured, sick and dead animals have been found and documented. The list of allegations is quite long and ranges from untreated umbilical hernias to stopping drinking water in the boxes (cages) in which the seeds are kept. “The results of the classified research are really shocking,” Beaver said.
In all seven cases, the responsible veterinary office was informed directly. After extensive viewing of the video material and legal processing, criminal charges were brought against all companies to the responsible attorney general’s office. “It is very important to us that the authorities are informed first and quickly so they can investigate animal cruelty. That is why we are only notifying the public now,” Beaver says.
Westfleisch is one of Germany’s largest pig slaughterhouses and slaughters around eight million pigs annually, generating billions in sales. On the site, the company advertises meat “directly from the farmers,” regionalism, high animal welfare standards, and short transportation routes. It is said that animal welfare is ‘focus’. “The photos that have been sent to us show that the reality is different, and serious violations of laws and criminal offenses have been documented,” Beaver said.
The German Animal Welfare Office today started a campaign to publicize the situation in Westfleisch to the public. The focus is on the criticism between “look and reality” – the purported ideal world on the site versus reality in the stables. Thus the advertising slogan “Westfleisch – straight from the farmer” becomes “qualified meat – straight from the farmer”.
With the current campaign against Westfleisch, the German Animal Welfare Office has once again revealed appalling conditions in the fattening of pigs. In recent years, an animal rights organization has repeatedly documented how animals suffer in slaughterhouses like Tönnies. Cruelty to animals has also been documented in slaughterhouses. “The best way to help animals is to stop eating them. A vegan diet without meat and other animal products is easier than ever,” says Beaver, who finally points out the vegan recipes on www.Twenty4VEGAN.de.
Pictures upon request.
More information: https://www.tierschutzbuero.de/westfleisch-skandal
Jan Befer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the German Animal Welfare Office,
Mobile 4841004-0171 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Original content from: Deutsches Tierschutzbüro eV, transmitted by aktuell news