One of the most devastating large fires in a livestock facility in Germany – this is how the German Animal Welfare Association spoke about the large fire in Alt Tellin a year ago. On March 30, 2021, in the early morning, huge clouds of smoke rose above the small community in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district.

One of the largest pig fattening facilities in Germany was located there, operated by Landwirtschaftliche Ferkelzucht Deutschland (LFD). The facility included eighteen stables, each 90 meters long. They burned down in no time. And with them almost all the animals that were in the facility.

Last year, the operator spoke of around 55,000 pigs that died. However, this number was corrected this year to over 60,000 animals burned, of which around 80 percent were piglets. The public prosecutor’s office in Stralsund announced on Friday that the investigation had now been discontinued.

The investigators assume human action or omission as the cause of the fire. The commissioned fire investigator ruled out a technical defect as the cause of the fire. Accordingly, there was an initial suspicion of negligent arson against two employees.

One of them is silent while the other denies the allegation. An act cannot be proven with sufficient certainty for them to be charged. The preliminary investigation into arson was discontinued due to a lack of sufficient suspicion.

“This means that the horror fire remains blameless almost 15 months after it broke out,” said Rüdiger Jürgensen of the animal welfare organization Four Paws on Friday. It is a scandal “that cruelty to animals husbandry systems have been politically promoted in Germany for decades”.

All this happens for the profit of large agricultural corporations, at the expense of the animals and our environment, Jürgensen continues. Only around 1,300 animals could be saved from the major fire in Alt Tellin – just under two percent of the pigs.

A surveyor examined the ruins and technical processes for months. According to the information, the fire broke out in the air washing of a stable. According to the expert, an ignition source must have reached a plastic grille in the exhaust air system.

According to investigations, the two accused employees were about half an hour before the fire broke out for cleaning work in the air washing area. “Ultimately, it was not possible to determine how the fire broke out because the source of the ignition could not be determined,” said the spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office.

Even intentional arson by one of the accused cannot be completely ruled out. “However, the investigations have not revealed any concrete suspicion in this regard.” The public prosecutor’s office estimated the damage at around 40 million euros.