German animal rights activists protest at meat factory after coronavirus outbreak

Animal rights activists protest outside the Tönnies slaughterhouse in Germany, source: Reuters
Animal rights activists protest outside the Tönnies slaughterhouse in Germany, source: Reuters

German animal rights activists protested outside a meat factory in North Rhine Westphalia on Saturday, where hundreds of employees tested positive for the coronavirus last month.

Activists climbed the roof to the Tönnies slaughterhouse and processing factory and spread out a banner saying ‘Shut down Tierindustrie (animal industry)’. Protesters demanded changes to current meat industry practices.

Around 600,000 people in nearby Gütersloh were forced back into lockdown on June 23 after more than 1,500 workers at the meat factory tested positive for COVID-19.

Members of the group Gemeinsam gegen die Tierindustrie displayed signs saying ‘Stop exploiting humans, animals, nature’ on the road outside Tönnies. They want attention for the high amount of infections among staff and the slaughtering of animals under inhumane conditions.

Three protesters were detained and hand-cuffed and taken to a police station in Gütersloh, the group said on Twitter. More than 100 people took part in the demonstration, it said.

While Germany’s management of the coronavirus crisis has been among the most successful in Europe, it has seen repeated outbreaks in slaughterhouses. Employees are often migrants living in crowded company-provided accommodation.

“We have to get back control over our food production. Let’s replace profit-driven meat conglomerates with democratically controlled, ecological and harm-free production sites,” activist Maya Keller said in a statement.

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