Updated: Swiss castration opponents team up
Swiss opponents against physical castration in piglets have joined into an action group, uniting producers, animal welfare organisations, veterinarians and consumers.
The group, called 'Stop Kastrazionsdwang' (or: stop forced castration) mainly aims at some retailers' decision to accept only meat that comes from physically castrated piglets.
Castration of male piglets without anaesthesia will be banned in Switzerland by 2010. As alternative solutions, a special commission called ProSchwein evaluated several different solutions last year – and suggested two alternative methods in June last year: castration with isoflurane narcosis and vaccination against boar taint.
The supermarket chain Migros, however, just as processor Micarna, have indicated to be hesitant against the vaccination method – and will hence only accept meat from castrated animals.
In a press release by the action group, Swiss pig producer and action group spokesman Hans Breitenmoser said that these companies 'herewith completely close the channels for meat from the animal friendly vaccination method and force producers to continue surgical castration'.
Breitenmoser continued, "For small producers the investment of procuring the apparatus will not be affordable." In addition, the action group claims that 'up to 10% of the piglets will continue being castrated in pain as gas narcosis is not fully efficient'.
To put things into perspective: according to the Verband für Schweinevermarktung, a national association who negotiated for acceptable prices for practical devices for anaesthetising and castrating, devices for the process of castration and anaesthetics are available as from CHF5,500 (about €3,600) per address.
In addition, trials by the independent committee ProSchwein indicate that using these machines has led to 97% of the piglets undergoing a complete painless surgical castration.
The Swiss interest group has indicated the following goals:
• Breeders and fatteners refuse to invest into expensive gas narcosis machines showing solidarity.
• The pig channel (QM channel and conventional production) has to open for meat from vaccinated animals as of January 1, 2010.
• No 'discrimination' of vaccinated animals and no prohibitive slaughter costs at the abattoirs.
• Pro-rata participation of additional costs through the new legislation by all partners of the value chain.
• Gain support for the implementation of feasible and 'animal friendly' methods.
• Protest against the decision of retailers and processors in media and politics together with animal welfare and consumer groups.
The interest group has transitional character and says it will remain as long as vaccination against boar taint is not accepted by retailers and processors.
• Stop Kastrationszwang (in German)
• Pfizer Animal Health
The current text of the news item has been adapted from the original news item, March 19, 2009.
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