About 100 million male piglets are castrated in the EU every year, most of the time fully conscious without pain relief or anaesthetic causing pain and suffering for several days. Eurogroup for Animals has been concerned about this practice and lobbied to have it banned by EU law. Instead of introducing a ban the Commission gathered the main stakeholders in the food chain, including Eurogroup to agree on a voluntary commitment to stop this cruel and painful practice.
ABOUT THE ISSUE
Castration of piglets is carried out to stop the development of boar taint, a hormone which causes pork to smell during cooking. There are many different solutions already available including slaughtering animals younger at lighter weight, to applying pain relief and vaccination against boar taint, and detecting boar taint at the slaughterhouse. Eurogroup has studied all these options and is promoting them to all of the stakeholders and urging them to introduce an end date in the voluntary agreement as alternatives are available.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
After many meetings and difficult negotiations Eurogroup is pleased that an agreement was eventually reached to phase out castration. With “The European declaration on the Alternatives to Surgical Castration of Pigs”, all parties commit to work in a Partnership to deliver clear measureable actions over the next seven years. The declaration ensures that after 1 January 2012 no surgical castration will take place without recognised analgesia and/or anaesthesia and after 1 January 2018 no surgical castration will take place at all.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
- It is now imperative that all stakeholders remain committed to the principles of the Declaration and deliver results.
- Eurogroup also encourages everyone to contact any of the stakeholders in the pig sector raising their awareness of the Declaration and get them to sign up to it
- European Declaration on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs
- Signatories to the European Declaration on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs
- International Conference Boars heading for 2018 (30 Nov. - 1 Dec. 2011)
- Eurogroup's presentation at Boars 2018 Conference (November 2011)