ID

APSC-174P

Authors as Published

Authored by Leonie Jacobs, Assistant Professor, and Jessica Neary, Graduate Student, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

This publication is available as a PDF and a digital publication.

Removal of the testicles (castration) is a prevalent procedure within the US swine industry. Because only a small percentage of swine are selected for mating, the vast majority of male piglets (boars) are destined for processing (meat production) and are castrated. Boars are castrated to limit behavioral issues during rearing, and to ensure appropriate meat quality, by avoiding “boar taint”. As the boars grow and mature, they may develop aggressive tendencies towards their pen mates, and attempt to mate with females in the pen. These behaviors could increase the risk of lameness and injury for both boars and their pen mates. Mature boars could also be aggressive towards farm staff. Surgical castration is the most common method of castration in the US. However, a relatively new option for producers is immunocastration, and some are transitioning to this. Here we discuss considerations for animal welfare, economics, and potential -future- alternatives.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Multistate NC1029 project 1024623 and the Virginia Pork Council.


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.

Publication Date

December 11, 2020