The EU has a substantial livestock population: there were 143 million pigs, 77 million bovine animals, 62 million sheep* and 12 million goats* in December 2019.
The majority of EU livestock are reared in just a few EU Member States
By and large, the bigger Member States reared the most livestock:
- Spain accounted for 22% of the EU’s pigs, 9% of the EU’s bovines, 25% of the EU’s sheep and 23% of the EU’s goats.
- Germany accounted for 18% of the EU’s pigs and 15% of the EU’s bovines.
- France accounted for 9% of the EU’s pigs, 24% of the EU’s bovines, and 12% of the EU’s sheep.
There were some other Member States that were relatively specialized:
- Denmark accounted for 9% of the EU’s pig population and the Netherlands a further 8%.
- Ireland accounted for 9% of the EU’s bovine population.
- Greece accounted 14 % of the EU’s sheep population and 31 % of the goat population.
EU livestock population’s evolution over time
Between 2010 and 2019, there have been fluctuations in the population of the four main categories of livestock. The EU’s pig population peaked at almost 146 million in 2017 before declining again. However, in 2019, the number of pigs was still 3% higher than in 2010.
Over the same period, the population of bovine livestock reached a peak of nearly 80 million in 2016 (a 3% increase from 2010), before decreasing again over the next three years. In 2019, it was roughly 1% lower than in 2010.
By contrast, between 2010 and 2019, the population of sheep and goats sustained a downward trend, falling by 7% and 8% respectively in 2019 when compared with 2010.
* The EU aggregates for sheep/goats are derived from the available time series, which cover the Member States whose sheep/goat populations are significant. They cover respectively 98% and 96% of the EU total numbers (2015).
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