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77 percent of European pigs are castrated without anesthetic
Date:12/9/2009

ale pig breeding, almost all the males are castrated, as they are slaughtered at heavy weights for the production of high-quality cured products.

According to Font i Furnols, within the IRTA they have already studied aspects of breeding and handling of intact males to try to minimize the negative effects of stopping castration. They are also working on other alternatives to surgical castration, such as immunocastration, a technique recently authorised in the European Union, which has been used for years in Australia and New Zealand, and which involves vaccinating the pigs to reduce the production of the chemical compounds responsible for the "boar taint" from the meat.

In the case of female pigs, the legislation does not consider castration unless it is for therapeutic or diagnostic reasons. However based on the PIGCAS project it has been confirmed that in some countries this practice is carried out.

In 88% of the cases analysed in Europe it is the livestock farmers themselves who carry out the castration. This is due to the demands of the market. This way the sexual smell is avoided, a sensorial defect in the meat of some male pigs that are not castrated, it can allow for a better handling of the animals in the farm and it results in the meat containing more fat and finer marbling, a characteristic which is valued in cured products.


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