Statement concerning the "Frontal"-Report: "Sick pigs, sick system?"

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21. September 2022

Münster, 21 September 2022. The footage shown yesterday in the ZDF program "Frontal" is a concern to us. Because for us, the welfare of animals always comes first. Our suppliers are regularly inspected in various ways - including unannounced spot audits by QS. Anyone who fails these audits and loses their QS approval and is automatically delisted as a Westfleisch supplier.

Accordingly, we also take the accusations against individual livestock farmers very seriously and pursue them with all determination. Our employees right away got in touch with the farmers, the official veterinarians and with QS GmbH Qualität und Sicherheit - and are still in close contact with them. To the best of our knowledge, the veterinary offices monitor the affected farms closely; we have so far no information regarding an official ban of the farms. Furthermore, all farms in question are authorized to deliver after special QS audits were carried out in the past few days. Until all allegations have been finally clarified, we reserve the right to take sanctioning measures up to and including terminati-on of the supply contracts.

Focus on three steps

Westfleisch is now focusing on three steps in particular: Firstly, we are currently inspecting every affected farm and carry out extensive special monitoring. Secondly, we will visit all our suppliers at short no-tice and document the status quo in detail - also to ensure that the generally excellent work of our more than 3,000 contractual partners is not discredited.

And thirdly, we will expand our inspection network. The status quo is clear: animals unfit for transport and slaughter were and are definitely not accepted for slaughtering in Westfleisch plants. At all West-fleisch meat centers, an official livestock inspection of each individual animal is carried out by an official veterinarian as soon as the livestock trucks are unloaded. In particular, the veterinarian checks for signs of animal welfare violations. In addition, offici-al veterinarians examine each individual carcass and all organs individually as part of the official meat inspection in order to detect any deviations or ab-normalities. In the event of indications of animal welfare violations, they immediately initiate official measures (prosecutions, administrative offences). In addition, in all cases, feedback is given to the farmers via the official veterinarians and the animal welfare officers of Westfleisch in coordination with the procurement department for livestock.

We are now expanding this already existing extensive livestock inspection with a further concept. The focus here is on risk-oriented live animal inspection, which we intend to use in the future to gain an even better impression of the conditions in our suppliers' lairages. We will be rolling out this comprehensive concept in the coming weeks. Because one thing is clear: Recordings like the current ones must finally become a thing of the past.