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CS - Moving Towards Boar Taint-free Meat: An Overview Of Alternatives To Surgical Castration From A Chain Perspective

Due to the public concern over the effects of surgical castration on pig welfare, castration, in particularly performed without pain relief, is now increasingly regarded as unacceptable in the EU. Therefore, developing acceptable alternatives to surgical castration has become a central topic for the pig meat sector. This paper reviews important issues in boar taint prevention without surgical castration, namely possible alternatives to surgical castration, factors influencing boar taint development and economic considerations associated with the presently feasible alternatives to surgical castration. Potential alternatives considered are genetic selection and gender selection for ‘low-taint’ pigs, immunocastration, altering management strategies, slaughter at a younger age and lower weight, detection of boar taint at slaughter line, mixing of tainted with untainted meat and masking unpleasant odors and flavors with spices. Prevention of boar taint itself without surgical castration is vary difficult. Basically, at present there is no totally valid and reliable alternative guaranteeing entire elimination of boar taint. The paper concludes that prevention of boar taint is a challenge for the entire pig production chain and an integrating approach would be useful to define the best alternative.

The Netherlands

Author(s): Backus G.B.C. (1), Baltussen W.H.M. ( 1), Valeevay N.I. ( 1)

Organization(s): Wageningen University and Research Center (1)

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