The decision was made public just before the weekend after an agreement was
reached with Dutch animal welfare organisation 'Varkens in Nood' (Pigs in Need).
According to the organisation, the chance of consumers buying pork with boar
taint is too small to justify castration – once in thirty years, it
The announcement is a next step in an ongoing debate in the
Netherlands on pork sales in supermarkets. Earlier this year, all Dutch
supermarkets agreed on refraining from selling pork from pigs that were
castrated without the use of anaesthetics, as from March 1,
At the moment, many Dutch pig breeders are being taught
how to apply these anaesthetics. Originally, a big switch to 'no castration' was
planned for 2015, the date by which alternatives for the practice need to have
The animal welfare organisation now targets two more
supermarket chains to follow the example set by the originally German
discounters. Two smaller ones had already done so, as well as restaurant chain
So far, it is unclear how the new decision will be
implemented. German meat packer Tönnies, one of the Aldi pork suppliers,
confirmed to Dutch agricultural newspaper Agrarisch Dagblad that it had agreed
with Aldi only to send fresh pork from female animals to Dutch
This would mean that the German meatpackers will have to
start separating boars and gilts at the slaughterline – and will have a surplus
of boar meat, which is usually of slightly less quality.
Varkens in Nood
chairman Hans Baaij, however, said he received promises from both discounters
that they would start selling both boar and gilt meat.
Unlike the UK, Ireland and most parts of Spain and
Portugal, castration is a common practice in large parts of Europe and the USA
to prevent pork from developing boar taint. In the Netherlands, approximately
3.3 million pigs are castrated annually.
Read more about the castration
debate in several European countries in the latest issue of Pig Progress.
• Varkens in Nood
• Agrarisch Dagblad
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