Conclusions of the EU Workshop on the castration of piglets

Friday 2 February 2007

"Reflections towards alternatives"

There is today substantial information on the scientific aspects of the subject. In particular the European Food Safety Authority has presented in 2004 an extensive scientific opinion on the subject. It indicates possible alternatives to castration without anaesthesia that have been more specifically described during this workshop such as the use of anaesthesia, better genetic selection, immunocastration and the detection of board taint at the slaughterline.
It has been concluded that castration without anaesthesia is painful and that alternatives needs to be considered from their welfare advantages and disadvantages as well as a number of other aspects such as the level of acceptance by the consumer, food safety, the practicality of the technique or their economic impact.
It was also agreed that further scientific research on the subject need to be continued.
The result of the workshop confirms that some producers in different Member States already do not practice the castration of piglets. There are also alternatives such as the use of immunocastration that has been implemented with success in some third countries.
The participants to the workshop agreed on the need to:
  1. develop an European wide information tool to keep stakeholders informed on the issue and its evolution (see;
  2. organise in the future a seminar on this question widely open to all stakeholders;
  3. realise a feasibility study on the social, economic, environmental and animal welfare consequences of the phasing out of the castration of piglets taking into account the current alternatives.

link to website