Castration method allows barrows fast, efficient growth

National Hog Farmer - One by one, food companies and retailers are announcing responsible sourcing standards for their suppliers. For the swine industry, eliminating gestation crates usually leads the list on animal welfare policies. Still hovering in the shadows, physical castration may just be the next big welfare issue. Since physical castration involves cutting and manipulating innervated tissues, the pig’s pain is the focus of the animal welfare discussion.

As researcher John McGlone of Texas Tech University verified in 1988, pain is associated with surgical castration. Alternatives to physical castration exist. As stated by the Texas Tech University team, hog producers can market male pigs before puberty, use pain relief, select genetics against boar taint or utilize immunological castration. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of feasibility and impact on the hog operation's profits.

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