Jörg Altemeier

Head of the Animal Welfare and Animal Health Unit of the Tönnies Group
Managing Director of Health Analytics GmbH

KEYNOTE SESSION - Sustainable pig production

"Significant aspects of marketing pigs & pork in the near and far future"
Friday, 13th May 2022

Education: Veterinarian and chemist.
After completing his studies, he first worked as an assistant at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, then at a private owned Institute in Hanover and at SGS.
Today Head of the Animal Welfare and Animal Health Unit of the Tönnies Group.
Managing Director of Health Analytics GmbH, an accredited laboratory company owned by the Group.
Member of animal welfare and animal health-relevant committees, e.g. EU Animal Welfare Platform, Round tables animal welfare, ASP expert commissions, Zoonotic Advisory Board NRW etc.



According to the food safety standard of the german Association “QS Qualität und Sicherheit GmbH” (QS Quality and Safety) pigs from certified farms are being sampled and serologically tested after being slaughtered.
Based on the lab results the farm is being sorted into one of three classes and receives an information about the coring. The higher the class, the more often antibodies have been detected.
The scoring may have an influence on acceptance, marketing and payment of the pigs and the usability of the pork.
In the first years after the monitoring has been implemented, the percentage of farms being in the worst class has become less and less. But now we observe a slight increasement.

Since a couple of years we have several animal welfare and husbandry related standards and labeling systems in the European Union. The majority of the standards is owned by associations or companies (e.g. NGOs or big food producing companies). In Germany one of the biggest retailers started a husbandry labeling system, consisting of four different levels, which became something like a national standard in the meantime.
On EU-level a new animal welfare labeling is being discussed and in Germany the quite new minister for agriculture announced the introduction of a completely new developed, obligatory (!) husbandry labeling system, consisting of four levels.
At the end it must be discussed and clarified for each system, how the farmers will be motivated to invest and produce more costly the food of tomorrow.

In several member states of the EU we have reports about animal welfare violations – either on farm- but also on transport- and slaughtering-level. Most of the time those reports, covering relevant pictures or video sequences, are being published by investigative journalists or animal rights associations. Those reports do not criticize just the involved farms, haulage companies and slaughterhouses, but also the local authorities.
The credibility of those reports and their interpretations may be questionable in some cases, but in some cases not.
The short and long term effects of those reports may range from auditing and banning suppliers to improvements of processes and trainings and , finally, less acceptance of meat products.
At the end the solution can be very simple: Dealing with the animals ethically and legally perfectly.