Most of us are aware in general terms how large the US pork industry is. In 2011 US packers slaughtered 109,967,000 pigs under federal inspection. This was up from 109,292,000 head in 2010.

A couple of weeks ago I came across statistics for the pork slaughter industry in Germany courtesy of A couple of points immediately sprang to mind. The first is the size of the German slaughter industry. In 2011 they slaughtered an estimated 59.475 million pigs or 54% as many as US packers. Given the size of Germany relative to the US, this suggests Germany has a very dense population of pig farms, even accounting for the fact that a growing segment of Germany’s slaughter numbers are imported from Denmark.

It is also interesting to note that the 4 largest slaughter companies slaughtered 60.3% of all pigs slaughtered. The largest company in Germany is Tonnies at 25.9% of the slaughter industry, followed by Vion at 16.8%, Westfleisch at 12.0% and Danish Crown at 5.5%.

This slaughter industry structure is almost identical to the US slaughter industry . Dr Steve Meyer’s estimate of US slaughter capacity in 2009 for the National Pork Board was 444,925 head per day.