European veterinarians review paper on pig castration

FVE -the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) has reviewed and updated its first position paper on pig castration, taking into account new scientific research, the market availability of alternatives and changing societal views.

In 2001, FVE adopted its first position paper on pig castration in which FVE requested to re-evaluate the practice of surgical castration of pigs, according to Gateway to Farm Animal Welfare from the FAO. In 2001 it was recognized that no good alternatives for castration and the prevention of boar taint existed.
In its last review of the 2001 paper, the FVE concluded that "surgical castration without anaesthesia and analgesia should be avoided. Surgical castration, when necessary, should be performed by veterinarians under general or local anaesthesia with additional prolonged analgesia." This also implies that adequate anaesthetics and analgesics "should be authorised for piglets in all countries".
On immunocastration, the FVE review stated: "Depending on the acceptance by the consumer, immunocastration could be a socially viable alternative and should be considered."
Belgium has taken a nationwide approach to revise castration procedures, and over recent years, the Netherlands and Switzerland have also moved to make the use of anaesthetics mandatory. In both countries, the whole food chain was involved in making these plans.

Editor PigProgress

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