Now, for the first time, a scientific team has collected information on the conditions of castration on European pigs. The main conclusion of the study, that forms part of the PIGCAS project, is that these animals are castrated directly by the livestock farmers, without anaesthetic and in some cases, without respecting the European legislation.
As part of the PIGCAS research project (Attitudes, practices and state of pig castration in Europe), a team of European scientists has just demonstrated that, of the 125 million male pigs slaughtered each year in Europe, 77% are castrated without anaesthetic.
This investigation, which appears in the most recent issue of the journal Animal, confirms that some countries fail to comply with the regulation for these practices, given that the European legislation states that castration without anaesthetic must be carried out within the first seven days of the animal's life. After this period it must be done by a vet using anaesthetic.
Norway and Switzerland have banned surgical castration without anaesthetic to prevent pigs from suffering and now they are looking into enabling the breeding of intact males (without castrating). However this option also has some disadvantages: "The breeding of 'intact' males is quite complicated, because when they reach sexual maturity there is more fighting and mounting amongst the animals, in addition to the pigs suffering from stress and injuries", Maria Font i Furnols, co-author of the study and researcher in the Institute for Food and Agriculture Research and Technology (IRTA), indicated to SINC.
In Spain roughly 30% of male pigs for conventional production are castrated. The most common method is surgical castration without anaesthetic. In non-conventional production, which includes large-scale pig breeding, almost all the males are castrated, as they are slaughtered at heavy weights for the production of high-quality cured products.
According to Font i Furnols, within the IRTA they have already studied aspects of breeding and handling of intact males to try to minimize the negative effects of stopping castration. They are also working on other alternatives to surgical castration, such as immunocastration, a technique recently authorised in the European Union, which has been used for years in Australia and New Zealand, and which involves vaccinating the pigs to reduce the production of the chemical compounds responsible for the "boar taint" from the meat.
In the case of female pigs, the legislation does not consider castration unless it is for therapeutic or diagnostic reasons. However based on the PIGCAS project it has been confirmed that in some countries this practice is carried out.
In 88% of the cases analysed in Europe it is the livestock farmers themselves who carry out the castration. This is due to the demands of the market. This way the sexual smell is avoided, a sensorial defect in the meat of some male pigs that are not castrated, it can allow for a better handling of the animals in the farm and it results in the meat containing more fat and finer marbling, a characteristic which is valued in cured products.
Fredriksen, B.; Font i Furnols, M.; Lundstrom, K.; Migdal, W.; Prunier, A.; Tuyttens, F.A.M. ; Bonneau, M. "Practice on castration of piglets in Europe" Animal 3(11): 1480-1487 noviembre de 2009.
SINC | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy