'Holland should ban castration now'

UK - Now that the European Parliament has given a lead, there is nothing to stop the Dutch government banning castration of pigs without anaesthetic, says Dutch Socialist Party MEP Kartika Liotard, according to Digby Scott.
calendar icon 10 October 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

Last month the European Parliament agriculture committee voted to back a Socialist Party proposal to ban castration of piglets without prior stunning, throughout the European Union.

Dutch agriculture minister Cees Veerman is in favour of a ban, but has argued that he must wait for an initiative from Europe. “We’ve provided him with this,” said Liotard, “so now there’s nothing to hold him back from banning this type of castration.”

Speculating on the chances of the European Commission deciding in its current animal welfare review to introduce a Europe-wide ban on castration, she said, she had been told two years by Agriculture Commissioner Fisher-Boel that there was no possibility of such a measure - but now she would have no choice.

Liotard believes pig farmers would welcome a Europe-wide ban. “Farmers certainly don’t want to perform castration without prior stunning, but as things stand if they go it alone in using alternatives they price themselves out of the market. This should soon no longer be the case.”

Two years ago the European veterinary committee undertook a study which demonstrated that castration without stunning was painful and unnecessary.

“An approach based on bigger sties, slaughter before transport and a selective breeding programme is better for the animal, better for the farmer and better for the consumer,” said Liotard.

The Dutch pig industry is pretty sure a castration ban is on the way, and is considering chemical castration as an alternative.

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