Hundreds of new corona cases were registered this week in a slaughterhouse of the Tönnies company in Germany.
At the Tönnies headquarters in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, around 5,300 employees will have to be tested in the next few days.
As a result, all schools and daycare centers in the Gütersloh district were closed again. Around 7,000 people are now in quarantine around the company.
Federal Labor Minister of Germany Hubertus Heil called the situation “shocking”.
For him, one of the main problems in the industry is that work in slaughterhouses is increasingly done with employment contracts and subcontractors, so that workers, most of whom are from Eastern Europe, are “not treated fairly”.
He now wants to end this “basic evil”, said Heil in the state television channel ARD.
But is that it?
The meat industry has other problem areas:
1. Too much manure
More animals also mean more animal excretions.
But where to put the manure? A large part of it ends up in the meadows and fields of farmers – and thus contaminates soil and groundwater with nitrogen.
Agriculture is responsible for around 57 percent of the nitrogen that is released into the environment in Germany, according to the Federal Environment Agency.
The European Commission has even threatened Germany with fines for the ongoing violation of the EU nitrate directive. There was talk of fines of up to € 850,000 a day.
2. Health problems
Too much meat is not good for your health either. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends not eating more than 300 to 600 grams of meat and sausage per week.
This corresponds to an annual amount between 15 and 31 kilograms. If the consumption of meat products increases, the risk of developing colon cancer increases, researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany report.
However, meat consumption in Germany is almost 90 kilograms per head per year. If you subtract the bone portion, every citizen in Germany consumes a good 60 kilos of meat – two-thirds are meat from pork.
3. Multi-resistant germs
Around 33,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant germs in Europe every year. And there are more and more.
The meat industry plays a major role here: the regular and excessive use of antibiotics in factory farming promotes the development of so-called ESBL germs.
ESBL stands for “Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases”.
Lactamases are enzymes that can make bacteria immune to the effects of antibiotics.
Even minor infections can become fatal diseases for humans.
4. Worldwide environmental destruction
Meat production is harmful to the climate, especially cattle farming. The production of one kilo of beef produces seven to 28 kilos of greenhouse gases, while fruit or vegetables are less than one kilo.
The reason: cows emit large amounts of methane, which is produced during digestion.
And when manure comes onto the fields, nitrous oxide is generated. Both gases are many times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide:
According to the Federal Environment Agency, methane 25 times, nitrous oxide almost 300 times.
Nevertheless, the global hunger for meat is growing. To breastfeed it, more and more meat has to be produced, so the large fattening farms also need ever-larger amounts of cheap feed for their animals: the solution is usually soy.
Large parts of the rainforest in Brazil are cleared for soybean cultivation.
This endangers its ecosystem and has a catastrophic impact on the global climate.
And I mean…According to market observers, the temporary closure of Tönnies’ largest German slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrück will not lead to supply shortages.
“Meat is not scarce in Germany, not even pigs,” the Agrarmarkt Information Society in Bonn reassures us.
Thank God! Our daily meat is secured, corpses are still produced in accord.
My best regards to all, Venus