Boar meat is pork from uncastrated male pigs. Male piglets are routinely castrated, aiming to prevent an abnormal smell of the meat (boar taint). The resistance to castrate male piglets is increasing. 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. When European consumers are asked to choose three main motives for buying and eating meat from a set of eleven motives; quality, price and taste are on average most often selected and no artificial ingredients, convenience and animal welfare are least often selected, with animal welfare on average over all 14 countries chosen in the top 3 by 15.0% of consumers, ranging from 28.2% of German consumers to 2.1% of Latvian consumers (Source CAMPIG, 2013).

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However, not everyone is convinced of the need to end the castration of male piglets. European and international markets have different opinions about the castration of pigs. International trade, supermarkets and butchers sometimes are reluctant because they fear the possibility of pork with boar taint.

Quality control and the Gold standard

Quality assurance and quality improvement are important to maintain market share or achieve higher prices. It is expected that the relative importance of quality will only continue to increase in the future. Pork quality may refer to slaughter quality, quality of meat and on hygienic quality. Slaughter quality is about meat percentage, carcass type and ratio of meat/fat and meat/bone. Meat quality is about sensory quality (color, water binding capacity) and eating quality (tenderness, juiciness, taste and smell).

The opinion of consumers about the quality of meat always comes first. For the pork meat sector the consumer is the gold standard according to which everything is tuned. Optimizing animal welfare is important for European consumers and therefore for the pork producers. Quality is largely determined by taste and smell. It is why in Europe a lot of time and money has been spent to unravel the complex issue of boar taint and to develop solutions.


Brocéliande organic pig breeders no longer castrate pigs

French producers

Most of the organic pig breeders at Brocéliande, part of the large French pork cooperative Cooperl, have chosen to no longer castrate their pigs. The combination of organic pig farming …

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Is the market ready?

Is the market ready

At the IPEMA conference Gé Backus presented the current situation regarding market acceptance of meat from non-castrated animals. As entire male pigs are leaner and tend to have less back …

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French producers shift to entire male piglets

French producers

Ten French producer organizations will process and market pork from uncastrated male piglets. ln a letter addressed to their breeders, Agrial, Eureden, Elpo, Evel’up, GRPPO, Porcineo, Porélia, Syproporcs, Porveo, and …

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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 …

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Date: 14-12-2013

Boar meat does not influence consumption.

The ending of the castration of male pigs in the Netherlands does not seem to influence the consumption of pork. ” The consumption has continued to follow European trends, even …

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Date: 19-02-2013

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, …

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Date: 14-01-2013

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Boars information ready for use

Gé Backus From January 1, 2019 pigs in Germany may no longer be castrated without anesthesia. This is enshrined in German law. Major retailers such as Rewe, Edeka west, Aldi …

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Beliefs or evidence?

Gé Backus Talking about farming and marketing entire male pigs often ends up in talking about the risk of boar taint. Piglet castration is a clear illustration how much time …

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Waited too long

Gé Backus On 25 June 2013, 200 Germans and 1 Dutchman met in the Jerusalemkirche in Berlin to discuss the theme of ‘Verzicht auf betubungslose Ferkelkastration’ (stopping the unanaesthetised castration …

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