The castration of pigs prevents the "boar taint" smell in the meat and allows them to contain more fat. However in practice this can be very different. Now, for the first time, a scientific team has collected information on the conditions of castration on European pigs. The main conclusion of the study, that forms part of the PIGCAS project, is that these animals are castrated directly by the livestock farmers, without anaesthetic and in some cases, without respecting the European legislation.
As part of the PIGCAS research project (Attitudes, practices and state of pig castration in Europe), a team of European scientists has just demonstrated that, of the 125 million male pigs slaughtered each year in Europe, 77% are castrated without anaesthetic.
This investigation, which appears in the most recent issue of the journal Animal, confirms that some countries fail to comply with the regulation for these practices, given that the European legislation states that castration without anaesthetic must be carried out within the first seven days of the animal's life. After this period it must be done by a vet using anaesthetic.
Norway and Switzerland have banned surgical castration without anaesthetic to prevent pigs from suffering and now they are looking into enabling the breeding of intact males (without castrating). However this option also has some disadvantages: "The breeding of 'intact' males is quite complicated, because when they reach sexual maturity there is more fighting and mounting amongst the animals, in addition to the pigs suffering from stress and injuries", Maria Font i Furnols, co-author of the study and researcher in the Institute for Food and Agriculture Research and Technology (IRTA), indicated to SINC.
In Spain roughly 30% of male pigs for conventional production are castrated. The most common method is surgical castration without anaesthetic. In non-conventional production, which includes large-sc
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology