Germany: Poultry farming sees food security and animal welfare at risk
“National food security is at stake if there are actual energy shortages. For years, our industry has made a significant contribution to ensuring that the population is supplied with meat and eggs. We can no longer guarantee that,” warns Stefan Teepker, Chairman of the Federal Association of Farm Chicken Producers and Vice-President of the Central Association of the German Poultry Industry. At the same time, the well-being of the animals is at risk if there are bottlenecks in the energy supply.
“We are currently completely in the fog. There is a lack of clear communication on the part of the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture with regard to possible scenarios of a gas shortage," says Teepker. The situation is critical across the entire value chain because the individual production steps of hatching, rearing, fattening, feed production and processing are directly interlinked. The same applies to keeping laying hens.
Stefan Teepker emphasizes that even isolated disruptions to the energy supply within the chain can have lasting consequences for the entire process: “Animal protection begins with the beginning of the incubation process in the hatchery. If we had to interrupt the incubation process due to a lack of gas, we would be condemning millions of unhatched life to death. According to the Basic Law, that is absolutely forbidden.” For reasons of animal welfare and food security, Teepker urges that the German poultry industry be given priority as part of the critical infrastructure in the gas supply.
"At the request of the federal government, our industry recently provided comprehensive figures on the necessary energy requirements across our entire value chain. It's all transparent on the table. It is now urgent that our keepers and marketers also receive reliable information from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture on how this emergency situation can be managed," says Teepker. In addition to massive animal welfare violations, an imminent forced shutdown of production processes would also lead to disrupted supply chains and empty shelves for eggs, meat and processed products in supermarkets in the short term.
"Let's work together to prevent such threatening effects on the food supply of the German population. The alert level has been declared, but we still have the chance to find a viable solution by autumn or winter. We, the poultry industry, are happy to get involved in this,” concluded Stefan Teepker.
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