The Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) and the European Commission (EC) have approved the use of the boar taint vaccine Improvac for the reduction of aggressive and sexual (mounting) behaviour in boars.
After vaccination with Improvac  boars demonstrate behaviour similar to that of castrates or females .
“The action of Improvac means that entire boars can be raised without the handling issues normally associated with full grown boars, and of course without the risk of tainted meat,” said Niels Wuyts, associate director, veterinary operations of Pfizer Animal Health Europe.
Much less likely to injure each other
“It also means that boars are much less likely to injure each other during the late stages of production or during transit, and so the risk of losses due to bruising or other carcass damage is reduced,” he said.
“These factors can be regarded as representing some of the most significant advances we have witnessed in recent times for pig farmers,” concluded Mr Wuyts.
The CVMP and the EC’s approval supports Improvac’s reputation as the solution to meet consumer demand for quality boar taint-free pork.
In Belgium, the largest supermarket chain already requires its suppliers to adopt Improvac, and will no longer sell meat from castrated boars.
Chris Peeters, manager of Wolkenhoeve Farm in Belgium, who switched to Improvac last year on welfare grounds, noticed the beneficial effect on boar behaviour in the first batch of vaccinated pigs.
“When loading the pigs, we noticed in particular that there was no difference between the females and the vaccinated males. They were just as calm as the others.
“The driver who came to pick them up was initially a bit reluctant to load boars. He didn't like having that many boars in his truck. But after loading them, he said that it had gone smoothly, and he noticed that they were all very calm,” said Mr Peeters.
Animal welfare/ Carcass quality
Boar behaviour is an issue in terms of animal welfare and carcass quality, and together with boar taint in meat is one of the main reasons why male piglets have been routinely castrated in the first few weeks of life. Currently, Improvac is the only registered alternative to physical castration. As efficient as castration in reducing boar taint, it is commercially proven as a solution to allow entire boars to be raised in a welfare-friendly system whilst consistently producing the high pork quality consumers’ demand.
 Data on File (EU 3b program). Pfizer Inc., New York, NY.
 Cronin G.M. et al., 2003. The effects of immuno- and surgical-castration on the behaviour and consequently growth of group-housed, male finisher pig. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 81 (2003) 111-126.