The cam­paign against cas­tra­tion

Country Smallholding - - Liz Shankland -

AN­I­MAL WEL­FARE or­gan­i­sa­tions across Europe have been ar­gu­ing for decades that phys­i­cal cas­tra­tion should be out­lawed. Some coun­tries led the way early on. As long ago as 2009, Nor­way banned sur­gi­cal cas­tra­tion out­right and, in 2010, Switzer­land banned sur­gi­cal cas­tra­tion with­out anaes­the­sia.

In 2010, a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion-led ini­tia­tive brought to­gether farm­ers, meat in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, sci­en­tists, vet­eri­nar­i­ans and an­i­mal wel­fare groups to dis­cuss end­ing cas­tra­tion. They signed the Euro­pean Dec­la­ra­tion on Al­ter­na­tives to Sur­gi­cal Cas­tra­tion of Pigs. This con­tained two key tar­get dates: from 1 Jan­uary 2012, sur­gi­cal cas­tra­tion should only be per­formed with pro­longed anal­ge­sia and/ or anaes­the­sia. The long-term goal was that the prac­tice of sur­gi­cal cas­tra­tion should stop com­pletely by 1 Jan­uary 2018. The dead­line has been ex­tended fur­ther, to the end of this year.

The big draw­back was that this was a vol­un­tary agree­ment and many coun­tries have cho­sen to ig­nore it. Ger­many has de­clared that from 1 Jan­uary 2019 no pigs may be cas­trated with­out be­ing anes­thetised. In Swe­den, 100% of boars are now cas­trated with both anal­ge­sia and anaes­the­sia. Anal­ge­sia is used in a high per­cent­age of cas­tra­tions in other coun­tries, such as in Aus­tria and Fin­land (99%) and Den­mark (95%).

Fig­ures for the UK and Ire­land show that be­tween 98% (UK) and 100% (Ire­land) of boars in the large-scale com­mer­cial in­dus­try that are slaugh­tered are en­tire, but the statis­tics do not take into ac­count smaller pro­duc­ers.

A num­ber of coun­tries are start­ing to ex­plore im­muno­cas­tra­tion — vac­ci­nat­ing young boars with Im­provac, which ef­fec­tively de­lays pu­berty, re­mov­ing the risk of boar taint. The vac­cine is now li­censed for use in 60 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the Euro­pean Union. In next month’s

Coun­try Small­hold­ing, I will look at how the vac­cine works and talk to those who have been us­ing it suc­cess­fully.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.