Turkey’s pork industry on the brink of extinction

12-05-2008 | |

Turkey’s pork industry is struggling to survive due to continuous and increased pressure from the islamic government, led by the AK Party.

About four years ago, there were approximately 25 pig breeders in the country, but that number has allegedly fallen to only two.

In addition, pig slaughterhouses have been forced to hand in their licences. Four years ago there were four of them in Istanbul, but now only one remains open. The remaining pig farms have great problems having their animals killed.

Religious reasons
A customer in Istanbul’s only pork butcher shop told a BBC reporter that religious reasons are the basis of the problem. “Most people are more religious these days. They don’t want to eat pork, and they don’t let others produce it either.”

The Turkish agriculture ministry however denied the situation’s anything to do with Islam. A spokesman simply insisted the regulations were introduced to bring Turkey up to European standards.

Since 2004, all new applications to open pig farms were refused on the grounds of not meeting certain requirements, as the national agriculture ministry took back the responsibility for issuing livestock permits.

More than 90% of the Turkish population is muslim, whom are not allowed to eat pork for religious reasons. Pigmeat in Turkey is sold to ethnic minorities like Greeks, ex-patriates and tourists. In addition, pork is increasingly popular in secular high society.

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