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.


Presentation at the Animal Welfare Platform

Gé Backus presented an overview of the work of the international voluntary subgroup on ending piglet castration on the June 16th meeting of the European Animal Welfare Platform. He concluded …

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Webinar “footprint of male pigs in Europe”

Boars on the Way in cooperation with Pig Progress hosted a webinar on the environmental impact of keeping entire boars. The webinar was broadcast on Thursday, February 23, and can …

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Ending castration of piglets explained (you tube)

The impact of ending castration of entire male pigs in Europe is explained in a two minutes YouTube animation. Ending piglet castration is better for the animal, saves money for …

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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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Video: Benefits of raising entire males from a farmer’s and an operator’s perspective

There are two alternative options for surgical castration while avoiding boar taint. One is to raise entire male pigs and the other is to vaccinate. Both ensure better animal health …

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Educational materials on alternative methods to surgical pig castration

The EU Animal Welfare Platform held its ninth meeting on June 22, 2021. One of the topic was alternative methods to surgical pig castration. At the Platform meeting information was …

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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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