Piglet castration – an international comparison


The German government moves the prohibition for a stunning loose castration of piglets to 2021 – for animal rights activists and animals a painful setback. As the rules of the other countries?

About a week old, the male piglets are when they are neutered

About 20 to 25 million male piglets are castrated in Germany per year without anesthesia. Them of the spermatic cord is squeezed with a pair of pliers and testicles cut off without any anesthesia.

In the animal protection law is actually A painful procedure must not be carried out in a Vertebrate without anaesthetic. Currently a derogation for castration of piglets up to the seventh day of life was. This exception should be 2019. But now the Grand coalition is pushing to pressure from the meat industry, the period of two years to the rear.

How does Germany in a European comparison in terms of animal protection? What methods are used in other countries?

Germany from 2021

Starting in 2021 for German pig farmers in three ways: you can let the piglets under anesthesia for the castration, you can perform a so-called immuno-castration – a procedure, in which the pig against sex hormones vaccinated – or you can forego the castration.

Lucky: This is a free country pigs remained uncastrated, as currently, only a few of their fellows in Germany

Castration without anesthesia: In most of the countries allowed

Currently, the anesthesia loose castration in the EU in only one country and prohibited in Sweden. In some countries, however, has imposed on the meat industry’s self-commitments for pain relief. So the German QS certification mark requires the approximately 90 percent of the in Germany produced pig meat are sold, is that piglets must be given before and after the castration, pain relievers. The relieves the pain when your testicles cut.

Local anesthesia: Sweden and Norway

Two countries in Europe require that a pig must be locally anesthetized before castration is carried out: Sweden and Norway. In Norway, a veterinarian must perform the procedure in a neighbouring country, the farmers themselves can perform the anaesthesia and castration. In Denmark, the local anesthetic used for Piglet-castration 2019 obligation – here, too, you are likely to carry out the farmers.

Many German farmers are in favour of this method – after all, it is much more cost-effective than, for example, General anesthesia. But experts and animal rights activists hold a local anaesthetic for hardly better than none at all.

“The local anaesthetic scientists are very controversial,” explains animal scientist Professor Ulrike Weiler of the University of Hohenheim. Finally, it must be led for a syringe in the testis of a very young, small animal, causing the animal also severe pain. “Numerous studies show that injection of local anesthetics represents an additional Stress – and pain-factor ( … ), and the anesthesia is insufficient, the castration, pain completely off,” writes the German animal protection Association. By 2021, the German Ministry of agriculture wants to test whether a local anesthesia is sufficient for pain treatment.

General anesthesia: Only in Switzerland required

The world’s only country where pigs only under anesthesia to be neutered, since 2010, Switzerland. There, farmers with a certificate of competence may take their pigs through a Gas for the duration of the Operation of consciousness.

In Germany, currently only a veterinarian is allowed to perform the anesthesia. However, Minister of agriculture, Julia Klöckner has announced that the German farmers, the use of the anesthesia by means of Isoflurane according to the Swiss model allow.

This Piglet from the lower Saxony region is anesthetized prior to castration. The only few companies in Germany

Castration by vaccination? So far, little used

An international pioneer in the Vaccinate against the sexually Mature istAustralien. The immuno was introduced in castration before the age of 20. A 2016 published scientific survey, about 35 percent of all male pigs are castrated there. In Brazil, where, since 2008, immuno-castration, castrated whole, 60 percent of all boar by vaccination.

In Europe, the procedure is widespread in Belgium, most – about 18 percent of the boars be vaccinated against the sexually Mature. According to livestock expert hamlet this is mainly due to the fact that large retail chains have this method of castration with targeted support.

The German meat industry of immuno-castration compared with was previously rather sceptical. There are Concerns that the meat could be perceived as a “hormone meat”, even if scientists consider this concern to be unfounded.

Almost no castration: great Britain and Ireland

In the UK and Ireland, the question of how male piglets are castrated to be playing much of a role. The reason is that you will almost castrated never. Also in Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, a maximum of 20 percent of male fattening pigs to be neutered – however, in Germany the figure is 80 percent.

What is the reason? In Germany, the meat of boar – entire male pigs, is as difficult to sell, as this can develop a bitter smell and taste that many consumers find unpleasant. In addition, unneutered boars have a stronger sex drive and increased aggression as more difficult in attitude.

This will, however, develop in England, Ireland, and co. not to be a Problem, since the pigs are traditionally slaughtered much younger and easier – before you drive a “boar odor”, aggression or sex. “In Germany, pigs are slaughtered in section, usually with about 120 pounds of weight, in Ireland and the UK at around 60 kilos,” says agriculture expert hamlet.