EU Agricultural Policy Favors the Spread of COVID-19 and Disappearance of Meat
June 29, 2020 (EIRNS)—The coronavirus has ripped the mask off many of the failures of the globalized, neo-liberal economic system embraced by the European Union, as EIR has reported. Among them, the plight of family farmers and the lack of food security, to which are now added the horrendous working conditions in the slaughter and meat-processing industry.
In a slaughterhouse of Germany’s largest pork-processing company, Tönnies Holding, more than 1,500 workers have tested positive for novel coronavirus and all 6,500 workers were quarantined as of last week. Already in May, new infections, although far fewer in number, had emerged in other, smaller meat-processing companies, but effective measures were not taken throughout the sector. The massive outbreak at Tönnies has put a spotlight on the exploitation of the workforce. A great deal of the slaughterhouse work is done by seasonal workers from Eastern Europe, who are employed via subcontractors, at wages well below the levels in Germany, and live crowded together in residences with substandard hygienic and safety conditions.
An article on the independent website German Foreign Policy had already documented on May 12 the abominable conditions of Eastern European slaughterhouse workers in Germany. (See “Novel Coronavirus Contagion Is Expanding in German Meat Industry,” EIR Daily Alert, Vol. 7, No. 153, Friday, June 26, 2020.)
The situation which has developed over the past years is largely a result of the European Union’s agricultural policy, which has degenerated into an appendix of the EU Commission’s radical “green” agenda. The extreme clauses on protecting “animal rights” have not only led to the elimination of traditional hog growing on family farms, in favor of newly created huge complexes, but have also meant the simultaneous shutdown of any traditional municipal slaughterhouses that were unable to fulfill all the bureaucratic requirements, forcing producers to turn to the large industrial groups like Tönnies.
Now, under the European Commission’s new “Farm 2 Fork” strategy, the additional restrictions imposed on farmers in the EU, if implemented, will make it impossible for them to continue meat production. But then again, the aim of the Greens is to greatly reduce meat consumption, if not, for the most radical, to eliminate it altogether.
The above report is published in the EIR European Alert for June 30.