What is boar meat?

Boar meat is pork from uncastrated male pigs.

What is boar taint?

Boar taint is a penetrating unpleasant odour (and accompanying taste) in pork. Click here for more information.

Why is there so much attention in Europe for boar meat?

A large number of European consumers attach great and increasing importance to animal welfare. European consumers consider it important that farm animals get as little as possible interventions throughout their lives. Castration of male pigs is one of these interventions. The European pig sector takes the signals seriously. Within Boars2018 they are working on a solution to the complex castration issue.

Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize to switch entirely to boar meat

To this end, the chain will cooperate with a network of over 200 pig farmers in Belgium. So writes Vilt [Belgian agriculture and horticulture info centre].

The idea is for the Healthy Farmers Association network of pig farmers, abattoirs, meat processors and livestock transport companies to produce pork from a special pig variety (Piétrain terminal boar combined with own mother animals) with the intention of improving the pork’s flavour and juiciness. The animals will also be fed special feed that includes local grains and linseed.

Surcharge for additional costs

In 2014, Delhaize launched the ‘Beter Voor Iedereen'[better for everyone] label. The supermarket chain aims for continual improvement within this programme. The decision to switch to boar meat is the latest welfare measure to be implemented. The participating pig farmers receive a remuneration of €3.68 per pig supplied to cover the additional costs.

Belgian politicians have responded enthusiastically to Delhaize’s initiative. Ben Weyts, the Flemish Minister of Dierwelzijn [animal welfare], called it a first for the Belgian market. A number of supermarkets in Germany have already switched to boar meat.

Taint detection on the slaughter line

Delhaize will try to prevent pigs with boar taint reaching consumers using odour detection on the slaughter line. Delhaize has some 6,000 to 8,000 pigs slaughtered every week. Delhaize says that approximately 2% of the carcasses from entire male pig has boar taint.

Click here for the original news item of BoerenBusiness (Dutch).

France: Focus on castration increasing

The French animal welfare organisation PMAF (Protection mondiale des animaux de ferme) currently started a massive communication campaign against piglet castration. The campaign is based on posters that are posted in the Paris metro while the International Agricultural Fair is going on in Paris. It is the first time that this type of campaign is taking place in France on such a scale. For more information see www.pmaf.org where PMAF invites people to send a protest letter to selected processing companies. The campaign is similar to the campaigns that were executed a few years ago in The Netherlands and Belgium.

Many questions and great interest in non-castration in Wallonia

Presentation (French) 

Boars on the way

The five-year Dutch research program ‘stopping the castration of piglets’ was started in 2009. The research results have provided important directions for solutions. The scientists involved have gradually unravelled the consumer response to products from entire male pigs, which is important for the appropriate use of detection methods. We have also identified the factors that determine successful boar management on the farm. Although still some challenges remain to be solved, we are convinced that we are on the right track towards a more sustainable production and marketing of pork products. This report summarizes the knowledge gained up to the present.Further information can be found in the reports of various studies, to which reference is made in the text. We hope that sharing our knowledge with experts throughout the member states of the European Union contributes to the ambition of stopping piglet castration.

Read more

EuroChoices Volume 11, Issue 3 – New EU Policies Towards Animal

EuroChoices Volume 11, Issue 3, pages 36a-43, December 2012, New EU Policies Towards Animal Welfare: The Relative Importance of Pig Castration. Zein Kallas, José Maria Gil, Nuria Panella-Riera, Marta Blanch, Gemma Tacken, Patrick Chevillon, Kees De Roest, M. Angels Oliver.


Flyer WUR – Boars heading for 2018