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Soaring costs and falling livestock numbers: “A slaughterhouse closes” every month in France, according to meat professionals


Highlights: The number of cows in France has fallen by almost a million in the last seven years. The number of cattle in the country has also fallen by more than a million. The drop in cattle numbers has led to a drop in the price of cattle. The fall in cattle prices has also led to an increase in the cost of meat. The price of meat has also risen due to the fall in the number of animals in the nation. The cost of food has also increased because of the drop in livestock numbers.

According to the Culture Viande union, a slaughterhouse has closed every month in France since September.

The slaughtering companies united in the Culture Meat union warned on Tuesday, four days before the Agricultural Show, of the difficulties of the sector in “overcapacity” due to the drop in livestock and facing high costs.

“Since September, there has been a slaughterhouse which has closed every month and since the beginning of the year, (…) practically two slaughterhouses which have closed” each month, declared the director of Culture Viande, Paul Rouche, during a press conference.

Out of 230 slaughterhouses in France, those which have closed are mainly “small and medium-sized slaughterhouses” stunned by the surge in their production costs (electricity, transport, packaging, etc.), he added.

Culture Viande defends the interests of nearly 300 slaughtering and cutting companies and the wholesale trade of butcher's meat (excluding poultry).

These companies, including the leader Bigard, employ 36,000 people.

Read also Animal abuse: L214 accuses a municipal slaughterhouse in Mayenne of “cruelty”

The closures or restructuring will affect “also the largest slaughterhouses” because “we find ourselves with excess slaughter capacity” due to the drop in French livestock, forcing sites to operate only four days a week, added the president of the organization, Yves Fantou.

Decline in the number of animals

In seven years, the number of cows has fallen by almost a million head to around seven million.

And, in the year 2023 alone, “we lost (…) two million pigs, which is enormous, which represents [the volume processed by] a big, big French slaughterhouse”, indicated Yves Fantou, at the head of a Breton company with around sixty employees.

This drop in the number of animals inflates their price: + 35% since 2021 for large cattle, + 50% for pigs.

Also readIn the accounts of Pierre, a cattle breeder at 500 euros per month: “It’s the minimum to survive”

Even better paid, cattle breeders consider prices still too low to cover their production costs and the erosion of the herd continues.

Producers are demanding the application of Egalim laws intended to prevent them from selling at a loss.

So far, acknowledged Paul Rouche, “Egalim has had no effect on the prices paid to breeders.

It is the drop in supply that is causing the increase in animal prices.”

However, assured Yves Fantou, “the slaughterers have understood that without production, there is no more slaughter.

So we must have breeders who are well paid and who must be supported.”

Source: leparis

All business articles on 2024-02-20

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