Historical background

Castration of male piglets is an age old method in pig farming. Surgical castrated pigs do not produce boar tainted carcasses. In recent years, castration (with or without sedation) is increasingly perceived as an intervention in the integrity of the pig as well as undermining the welfare of the animal. Moreover, farmers see castration of piglets as unpleasant and labor-intensive work. There are also economic disadvantages. Uncastrated pigs utilize their feed better, resulting in lower feed cost. That is also a benefit for the environment.

Large differences still exist between countries in producing and marketing non-castrated male pigs. It ranges from those countries with a lot of experience such as the United Kingdom Ireland, Spain and Portugal, to countries in which companies have started in the period 2010-2015 such as The Netherlands and Belgium. Pork food supply chains and retail organisations in these countries have successfully adapted best practices to end the surgical castration of piglets. During the last few years 2015-2017 France and Germany gradually increased the number of entire male pigs. By 2018 large pork food supply chains in 5-8 major pork producing countries have established successful directions for solutions for ending surgical castration.

Download: Factsheet producing and marketing entire male pigs