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Pig welfare takes major step forward as surgical castration will end by 2018

MEDIA INFORMATION

Brussels, 15 December 2010

Pig welfare takes major step forward as surgical castration will end by 2018

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the publication today of the European declaration on the Alternatives to Surgical Castration of Pigs which will stop this cruel and painful practice. The European Commission and the Belgian presidency have been working intensively over the last few months to achieve this major step forward in animal welfare and Eurogroup is extremely pleased to support it.

The Declaration is a voluntary commitment that brings together major players and stakeholders in the pig meat chain who commit to deliver on clear measureable actions over the next seven years. The declaration ensures that after 1 January 2012 no surgical castration will take place without recognised analgesia and/or anaesthesia and after 1 January 2018 no surgical castration will take place at all.

Castration of piglets is currently widely practised in the EU to stop the development of boar taint which causes pork to smell during cooking. This procedure is routinely carried out without analgesia or anaesthesia and causes pain and suffering to the animals both during the procedure and for some time afterwards.

To support these goals the European Commission will work with the stakeholders to develop a European partnership to ensure alternatives to castration are developed as well as methods to detect boar taint and minimise its impact for the consumer.

"While Eurogroup applauds this major step forward it is only one step in a long process and it is now imperative that all stakeholders remain committed to the principles of the Declaration and deliver results. We will continue to monitor closely the development of the European partnership and ensure the welfare of pigs is maintained by all stakeholders," said Dr Michel Courat, Eurogroup for Animals' Policy Officer for farm Animals.

"We must also build on the number of stakeholders that sign up to the Declaration and we will work to gain the support of other supply chain actors, in particular the retailers, to only accept meat from non-castrated pigs in future," he concluded.

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