Calling piglet castration the “next big welfare issue,” US livestock specialists — including renowned animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. John McGlone of Texas Tech University — say immunocastration provides a “win-win” alternative for both pigs and producers.
Dr. Grandin explains that immunocastration represents a “major welfare improvement” that works like a vaccine to block the natural compounds that are responsible for boar taint. Dr. McGlone adds that anesthesia and pain killers are not sufficient to alleviate the pain associated with physical castration, and that immuncastration eliminates this pain while further improving welfare by reducing stress due to male aggression.
According to economist Dr. Danny DiPietre, this welfare-friendly approach also reduces the morbidities and mortalities associated with physical castration, while allowing male pigs to more fully realize their potential for efficient growth.
Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson and Kathi Brock of the American Humane Association urge the pork industry to “constantly consider alternatives” to promote animal welfare, calling immunocastration a “humane solution” and a practically “viable alternative” to physical castration.
“Immunocastration is definitely better for the pig,” Dr. McGlone concludes. “If the producer is paid a premium…in exchange for improving animal welfare, then it’s a win-win — win for the pig, win for the producer, win for the consumer.”