German pig farm fire kills 55,000 animals

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A fire at a pig-breeding facility in Germany is believed to have killed more than 55,000 animals, the operator says.

The fire broke out on Tuesday at the facility in Alt Tellin, in the country's northeastern corner.

It spread quickly, in part through ventilation shafts, and destroyed the stalls where the animals were kept.

The cause of the blaze remains unclear.

A spokesman for operator LFD Holding, Ralf Beke-Bramkamp, told German news agency DPA that more than 55,000 animals died.

About 7000 sows and 50,000 piglets were listed as being at the facility at the time and only about 1300 animals were rescued.

The Alt Tellin facility was one of the biggest of its kind in Germany.

Groups of demonstrators, carrying placards with slogans such as "Stop animal torture," gathered at the scene on Wednesday.