German meat processor speaks out about Improvac and meat quality

Speaking to ISN, Tummel's Reinhard Daldrup explains how the impending ban on castration without anaesthesia has opened up a world of opportunities for working with Improvac-vaccinated, uncastrated male pigs.
calendar icon 4 May 2020
clock icon 3 minute read

With new legislation in Germany banning castration without full anaesthesia starting in 2021, many producers have to consider the most appropriate solutions to meet the new regulations.

According to Niels Wuyts, DVM, technical director for swine at Zoetis, the new legislation - passed in December 2018 - represents the biggest step to date in the EU’s move to end piglet castration. Whereas other countries in the block have passed laws to reduce pain related to castration, Germany’s law aims to eliminate pain, which Wuyts describes as a “small word difference but one that makes a big difference in reality".

The new regulations will radically change the way farmers operate but rather than seeing the legislation as restrictive, Wuyts says that the industry should view the change as a chance to make improvements and differentiate from competitors.

Speaking to the ISN, Reinhard Daldrup, who works in purchasing and public communications at the slaughter company Tummel from Schöppingen, says that his company has also seen this change as an opportunity.

"We looked at the Improvac solution in Belgium and decided to give vaccination a chance," says Daldrup.

"We got on board in the middle of last year. Since the beginning of August 2019, we have slaughtered around 20,000 uncastrated male pigs vaccinated with Improvac.

"We are ready to slaughter Improvac animals almost every day and have around 60 suppliers of Improvac animals."

When asked about the quality of the meat, Daldrup exclaims that the meat from males pigs that have not been neutered and have been vaccinated with Improvac is not like boar meat in any way. He explains how it was the composition of the meat that convinced the team at Tummel that processing Improvac pigs would come with great rewards.

"Unlike boar meat, the quality, colour and fat ratio are what we imagine those of an excellent pork product to be. The aroma, the look and the approach to fat and the fat quality are just right," he adds.

Tummel have been carrying out odour detection during processing to ensure that all pork meets expected standards but Daldrup explains that he thinks this is probably an unnecessary step and that more automated quality monitoring will replace this. He says that the company has also been monitoring the occurrence of carcase abnormalities, such as abscesses, and he says that he has not seen any increase in such abnormalities since taking on Improvac animals.

"Our advice for producers is: gain experience with the vaccine and form your own opinion!" says Daldrup.

The full interview was conducted and published by the ISN.

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