Pus, inflammation, parasites – veterinarians repeatedly declare pigs and chickens inedible after slaughter. In the case of poultry, one factor in particular has deteriorated.

Chickens fail meat inspections more frequently than pigs. According to official meat inspection, 0.2 percent of the 50.4 million fattening pigs slaughtered in German companies in 2021 were classified as inedible.

Of the 634 million broilers slaughtered, 2.1 percent were unfit for consumption. This was reported by the Federal Statistical Office.

Broilers fail more often than pigs

The proportion of pigs unfit for consumption remained unchanged compared to the previous year. In the case of broilers, it rose significantly: in the previous year, the figure was 1.7 percent.

The main reason for the declaration of unfitness in pigs were abscesses, i.e. accumulations of pus in the tissue (36.2 percent of cases). This was followed by deviations in smell, consistency or color (15 percent) and unspecified general diseases (12 percent).

An examination of the organs showed that 5.4 percent of the slaughtered fattening pigs suffered from pneumonia. The proportion fell slightly in 2021: In the two previous years, 5.7 and 6.6 percent respectively had an inflamed lung. The opposite trend was observed for the livers: the livers of 10.4 percent of the fattening pigs examined were infested with parasites. In previous years, this proportion had been 9.8 and 9.3 respectively.

Various reasons for unfitness of chickens

In the broilers, the so-called deep dermatitis – an inflammation of the skin in the area of ​​the lower abdomen and the anus – was the main reason for unfitness (29.4 percent of the cases). In 16.3 percent, the investigating staff reported ascites, which was the second most common finding.

In addition to such animal-related reasons for unfitness, the staff also documents so-called slaughter damage. According to the Federal Office, they can be caused, for example, by insufficient bleeding of the animals. In the case of fattening pigs, this was the case for 0.03 percent of all animals slaughtered – slightly more than in the previous year, when it was 0.02 percent. When broilers were slaughtered, 0.4 percent of the animals were declared unfit for slaughter damage. In the previous year, the proportion was still 0.3 percent.

Foodwatch demands independent controls

“Farm animals are systematically made ill in German stables – in all forms of husbandry, whether organic or conventional, whether small family business or large animal factory,” says Foodwatch spokesman Andreas Winkler. “We finally need independent checks on the injuries and damage to the health of the animals in each individual barn. Farms that don’t manage to keep their animals healthy must be sanctioned, farms with healthy animals must be rewarded.”

In the so-called slaughter animal and meat inspection, official staff, such as veterinarians, examine all animals delivered and slaughtered in approved slaughterhouses. The competent veterinary authority reports the test results to the Federal Statistical Office every six months. The figures have only been collected in this form since 2019 – therefore a long-term comparison is only possible to a limited extent.