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Number of pigs slaughtered at the lowest level in more than 30 years

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© Jimmy Kets

Strikingly fewer pigs were slaughtered in Belgium last year. For the first time in more than thirty years, there were fewer than ten million, according to figures from the statistics agency Statbel.

A total of 9.4 million pigs ended up at the slaughterhouse last year (or 780,000 per month). This is a decrease of 11 percent compared to 2022 and the lowest number since 1990. In 2013, the number of pigs slaughtered peaked at more than 11.9 million.

Despite the decline, pigs remain the most important group of slaughtered animals based on weight. At 930 million kilos, they accounted for 58 percent of the total slaughtered weight.

The chicken sector is by far the largest in terms of numbers: 300 million chickens were slaughtered last year, or 25 million per month. But based on weight, they represent only a quarter of the slaughters.

The third group are the cattle. Of these, 771,000 were slaughtered last year, 2 percent more than in 2022, and “a slight recovery after the downward trend since the 1990s,” according to Statbel. The cattle sector has a 15 percent share by weight, with a total of 240 million kilos of cattle slaughtered.

On average, 26 million animals were slaughtered every month in Belgium in 2023: 25 million chickens, 780,000 pigs, 64,000 cattle, 57,000 turkeys, 6,000 sheep, 5,000 other poultry, 3,000 ducks, 3,000 goats and 120 horses.

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