EU sees modest decline in livestock population in 2023

Croatia and Ireland recorded sharp decreases in their pig populations.

May 23, 2024

1 Min Read

In 2023, the European Union's livestock populations were lower than a year earlier. Compared with 2022, the pig and bovine populations decreased by 1%, while sheep declined by 3%, and goats by 5%. In 2023, the EU had 133 million pigs, 74 million bovine animals, 58 million sheep and 11 million goats.

This information comes from provisional data on the EU’s livestock population, published by Eurostat.

Over the past decade, the populations of all livestock species have declined. The population of bovine animals in the EU decreased the least, down by 5% compared with 2013, followed by pigs (down 6%). Sheep numbers decreased by 9%, while that of goats experienced a sharp decline of 15%.

Contrasting developments at country-level in pig and bovine populations

While EU-level changes in pig and bovine populations in 2023 as compared with 2022 were relatively modest, there were diverse developments among EU countries.

Croatia and Ireland recorded sharp decreases in their pig populations (-10% compared with 2022), whereas Bulgaria and Malta recorded even sharper increases (both +21%).

Latvia recorded the largest decline in its bovine population in 2023 (down 6% on 2022), followed by Lithuania, Estonia, Portugal, Finland and Hungary (all down about 3%). Cyprus was the only country with a modest increase (+1%), while bovine populations in Malta, Poland and Ireland remained almost unchanged on 2022 levels.


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