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Potential sensitivity of pork production situations aiming at high-quality products to the use of entire male pigs as an alternative to surgical castrates

  • M. Bonneau (a1), M. Čandek-Potokar (a2), M. Škrlep (a2), M. Font-i-Furnols (a3), M. Aluwé (a4), The Castrum network and L. Fontanesi (a5)...
Abstract

The perspective of a possible ban on surgical castration of male pigs in the EU is a real challenge for pork production systems aiming at (very) high-quality products. Information was collected from a total of 272 situations in 16 European countries, including 170 situations related to EU protected designations (Database of Origin & Registration (DOOR) database) and 102 other situations related to high-quality products or differentiated production systems, in order to evaluate their potential sensitivity to the use of entire male pigs along four dimensions: BT_Inc, likelihood of increased levels of boar taint compounds compared with conventional production of entire males; BT_Per, extent to which (some of) the associated pork product(s) are susceptible to perception of boar taint by consumers; FatQQ, likelihood that the quality of (some of) the related products is decreased due to the lower fat quantity and quality in entire males; Manag, increased likelihood of animal management and welfare problems compared with conventional production of entire males. Situations corresponding to EU protected designations (DOOR situations) were on average more sensitive to entire male production but 11% of the non-DOOR situations were highly potentially sensitive, whereas one-third of the DOOR situations had low potential sensitivity. In total, 37% of the situations where castration is not formally specified as mandatory exhibited high potential sensitivity to entire male production. Three main patterns of situations were identified via ascending hierarchical clustering. A first pattern including 31% of the DOOR situations and 74% of the other ones, had potentially no increased risk compared with conventional production of entire males. A second pattern including 28% of the DOOR situations and 16% of the other ones had a high, moderate and low potential sensitivity for FatQQ, BT_Inc and Manag, respectively. The third pattern including 41% of the DOOR situations and 11% of the other situations had high potential sensitivity for BT_Inc and FatQQ, associated with moderate to high sensitivity for Manag. The approach used to evaluate the sensitivity to entire male pig production from the limited information collected for this study has many limitations. More precise approaches using more specific information are needed to evaluate the actual sensitivity of individual situations to the use of entire male pigs. Still, the present study provides a first global insight on the capacity of European production systems aiming at high-quality products to use entire male pigs as an alternative to surgical castration.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
E-mail: michelbonneaupro@orange.fr
Footnotes
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a

The people involved in the CASTRUM network who significantly contributed to this paper are listed in the Acknowledgment section of the present paper.

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