No ideal anaesthesia method for castration

In an expert meeting, seven international experts from Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands concluded that so far, there is no ideal anesthesia/analgesia method for pig castration. This is the report of a first expert meeting. It is not and should not be interpreted as a full scientific review of all different methods for analgesia and anaesthesia concerning piglet castration.

The expert meeting was held on June 16th to prepare a science based overview of the mentioned methods of anaesthesia/analgesia.

The discussion on anaesthesia/analgesia methods is faced by limited scientific evidence and strong and varied stakeholder values and preferences. During the expert meeting, different methods of anaesthesia/analgesia were discussed. From local spray/gel anaesthetics to local anesthesia using lidocaine and inhalation anesthesia with isoflurane or CO2.

The experts concluded that so far, no method is ideal. All methods have their limitations. No method is outstanding on all relevant aspects. All experts felt that moving away from castration altogether is still the main goal. In this context anesthesia is seen as an ‘in between step’, in which it is of importance to keep reviewing the limitations of the different anesthesia methods. The meeting was closed, stating that it is important to communicate to farmers why the goal is to move away from surgical castration or towards surgical castration with pain relief.

Click here to read the full report of the meeting, or read best practices in rearing uncastrated pigs.