Agriculture: One slaughterhouse per month closes in France

February 21, 2024 / Radouan Kourak

While 2023 saw slaughterhouse closures almost every month, the pace is accelerating at the start of 2024. “There are now two closures per month affecting the sector,” warns Yves Fantou , the president of Culture Viande, the main union which brings together meat processing companies.

Of the 230 French slaughterhouses which closed recently, they were small and medium-sized structures. Culture Viande explains these closures by “the surge in production costs (packaging, electricity, transport, etc.)”. The union fears upcoming closures of large sites due to the decline of the French herd, forcing these slaughterhouses to operate only four days a week.

In this context of reduced production, export volumes also decreased by 12%. At the same time, beef imports represent nearly 28% of the quantity consumed in France.

This reduction in the number of animals causes prices to soar. Since 2021, the increase is +35% for large cattle and +50% for pigs. Despite better remuneration, breeders believe that prices are still too low to cover production costs and that the erosion of the herd continues. Producers are calling for the application of the Egalim law to avoid sales at a loss.