German Minister Says Slaughterhouse Must Be Held To Account Over COVID-19 Outbreak


2 Minutes Read

Multiple slaughterhouses have shut down indefinitely in the U.S., according to reports (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission) - Media Credit:

A German politician says a major slaughterhouse ‘must be held to account’ over a recent coronavirus outbreak.

The virus has infected more than 1,500 workers – most of whom are from Romania and Bulgaria – at the site in Gütersloh, with thousands more in the local area being told to self-isolate after coming into contact with infected people.

In addition, local authorities have closed schools and childcare facilities in the local region for the remainder of June, in a bid to clampdown on the spread of the disease.

‘Taken hostage’

Now Germany’s labor minister Hubertus Heil has said that the region was ‘taken hostage’ by the outbreak – and that the factory must be held responsible for failing to protect its employees.

The slaughterhouse is run by German meat giant Tönnies. According to Heil, public trust in the company is ‘precisely zero’. He accused Tönnies of putting the health of its workers at risk, as well as the health of the general public.

As a result of the outbreak, local authorities are considering a new lockdown and curfew to try and prevent further spread of the virus.

‘We can only apologize’

Speaking at a recent press conference, a spokesperson for Tönnies said it has worked ‘intensively’ to ‘keep the virus out of the company’.

Tönnies has speculated that many of its workers traveled home to Romania and Bulgaria for a recent long weekend, and brought the virus from there into Germany.

The spokesperson added: “We can only apologize.”

Health authorities

But health authorities have accused Tönnies of not taking measures to protect workers, including contravening physical distancing regulations.

In addition, according to reports, Tönnies has been reluctant to give [authorities] access to workers’ contact details – though ‘Tönnies said delays in handing over personnel data had been due to Germany’s strict data protection laws’.

Support Plant Based News in our mission to plant 1 million trees by 2030. 🌳

Your donation supports our mission to bring you vital, up-to-the-minute plant-based news and research and contributes to our goal of planting 1 million trees by 2030. Every contribution combats deforestation and promotes a sustainable future. Together, we can make a difference – for our planet, health, and future generations.

© 2023 Plant Based News is a UK-based digital media outlet publishing content about veganism and plant-based living, including news and current events, health, personal transformation stories, features, and recipes. | Plant Based News Ltd, PO Box 71173, London, SE20 9DQ, United Kingdom.