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After spreading covid-19, a huge European abattoir vows reforms

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub CLEMENS TÖNNIES used to be a local hero in eastern Westphalia. One of six children of a butcher from the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, he grew Tönnies, the family meat-wholesaling business which he took over after his brother Bernd’s death in 1994, into one of the biggest meat-processing companies in the world, with annual sales of €7bn (bn). For almost two decades the bratwurst billionaire was chairman of Schalke 04, a beloved local football team. He built the Tönnies arena, a 3,600-seat stadium for a women’s football club, next to his company’s headquarters. He donates to the local

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Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

CLEMENS TÖNNIES used to be a local hero in eastern Westphalia. One of six children of a butcher from the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, he grew Tönnies, the family meat-wholesaling business which he took over after his brother Bernd’s death in 1994, into one of the biggest meat-processing companies in the world, with annual sales of €7bn ($8bn). For almost two decades the bratwurst billionaire was chairman of Schalke 04, a beloved local football team. He built the Tönnies arena, a 3,600-seat stadium for a women’s football club, next to his company’s headquarters. He donates to the local shooting club, and owns hotels, a gym, a real-estate agency and even a kindergarten in Rheda.

Mr Tönnies’s image suffered last year when he made comments belittling Africans, and was forced to step down as Schalke’s chairman. It took a much bigger hit last month after the plant in Rheda, the largest of his 29 plants in Europe, triggered Germany’s biggest single outbreak of covid-19. More than 1,400 people, mainly...

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