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Selected Publication:

Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2004

Author(s): Baumgartner, J; Binder, R; Hagmüller, W; Hofbauer, P; Iben, C; Scala, US; Winckler, W

Title: Aktuelle Aspekte der Kastration männlicher Ferkel. 2. Mitteilung: Alternativmethoden zur chirurgischen Kastration und zusammenfassende Bewertung.

Source: Veterinary Medicine Austria / Wiener Tierärztliche Monatsschrift (91) 198-209.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Baumgartner Johannes
Binder Regina
Hofbauer Peter
Iben Christine

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Small Animals, Clinical Unit of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Andrology
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds
Institute of Animal Welfare Science
Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, Unit of Food Hygiene and Technology

Meat from entire male pigs may show odour and flavour aberrations known as boar taint, which are mainly caused by androstenone and skatole. Both the incidence of boar taint and the sensibility of the consumers vary substantially between countries. Surgical castration without anaesthesia is widely used to avoid boar taint. From an ethical point of view, this method should be abandoned because it causes severe pain and distress to the piglets. Apart from anaesthesia prior to castration, as described in the first communication, this problem could be solved by the production of entire male pigs or by using immunocastration. Whereas intravenous anaesthesia is not considered feasible, inhalation anaesthesia or local anaesthesia of the testicles are regarded as promising approaches. With regard to animal welfare, the production of entire male pigs is highly desirable but considerable adaptations along the production chain are necessary in order to avoid boar taint including management aspects, changes in slaughtermass and methodology for boar taint detection. Under Austrian conditions, fattening of entire male pigs should therefore be viewed as a long term perspective. Active immunization of entire male pigs against gonadotropin-releasing hormone at the end of the fattening period results in both a significant reduction of boar taint compounds and in increased feed efficiency. Pain and distress caused by the vaccination procedure are considered negligible compared to surgical castration. Health risks by the consumption of meat from immunocastrated pigs are not expected. Based on the results of the Australian pig industry, immunocastration is considered to be a practicable and effective technique. However, there has been no vaccine licensed in the EU so far.

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