Research: alternatives to unsedated castration
A new research into alternative methods for unsedated
castration of male piglets has been started at Wageningen University and
Research Centre (WUR), the Netherlands.
The announcement was made public at a boar taint
conference in Wageningen.
The research focuses on a short-term
solution as sedated castration, by use of carbon dioxide (CO2), but also on what
is called a 'long-term solution' of genetical selection.
genetical selection should make castration superfluous altogether.
Without castration, approximately 5 to 10%
of the pigmeat from male pigs is spreading out a specific unpleasant smell.
For that reason, castration is necessary. As from 2004, the
Netherlands are looking for a solution for the castration issue.
Negative aspects about sedated castration,
such as injection pains and costs, cause sedated castration to be rather
For that reason, a method using low concentrations of CO2
for sedation - both painless and relatively cheap - will be assessed. As far as
the university knows, this method has never been used or tested anywhere in the
For the long term, a
boar taint solution should be found in a combination of genetical selection,
slaughter line detection and adapted feeding and housing, the university
The university's Animal Sciences Group (ASG) is working on
several methods possibly enabling the removal of boar taint.
The group discovered a gene that is important
in the production of boar taint. Within a year, it is expected, it should be
clear whether the gene has several varieties.
A second method uses
new technologies enabling scientists to use these varieties
â€¢ Wageningen University and Research
â€¢ Animal Sciences
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