Call for End to Pig Castration in EU

EU - Welfare campaigners, Eurogroup for Animals, has called on the European Commission, producers and food chain operators to take urgent action on piglet castration.
calendar icon 3 June 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

About 100 million male pigs are castrated in the EU every year, most of the time through surgical methods without anaesthesia and analgesia, raising major welfare concerns. Castration without anaesthesia is a painful and stressful procedure, as confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority in its report of July 2004. It is not acceptable to continue this from an animal welfare point of view and it must be outlawed as soon as possible, according to Eurogroup for Animals.

Eurogroup was speaking at the European Commission's technical workshop on the castration of piglets today. It reiterated its call for the introduction of a total ban on surgical castration as soon as possible.

Sonja Van Tichelen, Eurogroup's Director, said: "This issue is extremely important and affects a huge number of animals across Europe. It has been discussed for the last 20 years and consumers have proved time and time again that they do not want meat that comes from animals who have suffered during their lifetime. There already exist well tested and well proven alternatives to piglet castration and it is vital that everyone takes responsibility and acts decisively to implement these existing alternatives rapidly.

"We believe that the production of entire males is without doubt the best alternative. Producers must move to this system quickly, but during the transition they should use existing practices that offer more welfare friendly solutions."

In some Member States of the European Union including Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany, producers are using alternatives today that are commercially viable and that provide higher animal welfare standards.

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