Painful Pig Castration
According to the USDA, 100% of male piglets raised for food in the U.S. are castrated, and the most common procedure is cutting and ripping out their genitals without any painkillers. There is no dispute that piglets endure immense pain during this process. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), and even the National Pork Board all agree.
- AVMA’s Policy on Swine Castration (2010): “Castration is a painful surgical procedure.… The AVMA recommends the use of procedures and practices that reduce or eliminate pain.”
- USDA’s Fact Sheet “Castration-induced pain in pigs and other Livestock “ (Summer 2011): “[C]astration is a painful procedure” and the use of pre- or post-operative painkillers “could reduce the degree of pain experienced.” The USDA concludes: “Development of painless alternatives to castration would be a profound improvement to animal welfare.”
- National Pork Board’s “Swine Welfare Fact Sheet” (2002): “[C]astration is a painful procedure for piglets … and less painful alternatives should be researched.”
Due to welfare concerns, many countries including the U.K. and Australia are shifting away from unanaesthetized pig castration. The procedure is considered so cruel that it has been banned in Switzerland and Norway.
Alternatives are readily available. In fact, in March 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Improvest, an injectable protein compound that, according to the industry publication National Hog Farmer, provides “the same effect of surgical castration” and eliminates “the risk of infection or death.”
Improvest is now available in the US and has been used internationally, under the brand name Improvac, for ten years. It’s time for the US pig industry to stop the barbaric practice of ripping piglets’ testicles out of their bodies and switch to more compassionate methods of pig castration.