News 455 views last update:Feb 11, 2008

Germany opens dialogue about piglet castration

After having been put off for a long time, it seems now that the Germans are prepared to discuss the issue of piglet castration.

German organisation for consumer protection, QS, now wants to bring the topic to European level. Behind the scenes, the discussion appears to be less open.

Both German slaughter companies, Westfleisch and Tönnies and the national agricultural association have had discussions with their Dutch counterparts - LTO (Dutch Agriculture Employers' Association) and NVV (Dutch Association of Pig Producers) - to discuss the issue as an agreement on anaesthetised castration of pigs is being drawn-up between various pig industry representative associations in the Netherlands.

Castration without the use of an anaesthetic was for a long time not considered a problem in Germany until the QS presented its position paper on Monday this week stating that it will join the European Meat Alliance (EMA) to find a "common European alternative to piglet castration".

Boar taint
Complete eradication of the practice of castration of piglets is a bone of contention in Germany. German consumers have a strong aversion to boar taint and the market is sealed for boar meat.

"For this reason," according to Annechien ten Have, chairperson of the LTO, "it is vital that Germany is brought into the discussion and Dutch and German researchers collaborate."

Should it arise that the German market is in favour of anaesthetised castration, "the market will have to pay, which is the case in the Netherlands", according to NVV chairperson, Wyno Zwanenburg.

Related websites:

• Pig Progress

• European Meat Alliance

• QS

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