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News 549 views last update:Mar 26, 2008

Castration of piglets on EU agenda

The discussion about castration of piglets with anaesthetics is not confined to the Netherlands. In Switzerland, Norway and Belgium the topic is gaining ground again. The Dutch intend on lobbying the EU to completely ban the practice of castration altogether.

European researchers are working together on the EU- project PIGCAS, which has as its overall objective to provide information on pig castration that will support EU policy,

Costs
In 2007, research was carried out into the welfare aspects of anaesthetic procedures. Researchers calculated that castration with anaesthetics costs €1 per piglet carried out by a vet and €13m for the total sector per year.

CO²
Castration using CO² appears to be a better choice. A visit to Switzerland is planned, where this practice is in a more advanced stage of development.
Development of prototypes
Last year, researchers from the Dutch Animal Sciences Group, carried out a study into castration using a gas anaesthetic containing a mixture 70% CO² and 30% O². Tests are being carried out since the beginning of this year into instruments developed abroad.

Spread of costs
In February this year, the Dutch Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) has begun to create a cost calculation tool. The results of which will be available as of June this year.

Related website:

• LEI

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