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Sustainability in pork production with immunocastration

Challenge - European pig production faces a big challenge in the near future as stakeholders voluntarily agreed to end surgical castration (SC) without anaesthesia and pain relief after 2018. Despite public disapproval in a number of EU countries, the majority of male piglets are still surgically castrated. An alternative is raising entire males (EM), but this results in meat quality and welfare problems. Another alternative is immunocastration (IC), but wide application of this technique is hampered by technological issues and social acceptability.

Objectives - The aim of this project is to critically evaluate and optimise pork production with IC as an environmental, economic and socially sustainable alternative.

Expected results - The project will analyse the consequences of IC for production systems with respect to regional circumstances and societal atmosphere. Key issues regarding farm management, consequences for animals and product quality as well as consumer perspectives are covered in four work packages (WP). Three additional WP will integrate results on societal acceptance and environmental, economic and social sustainability. An additional WP involves dissemination of the results and exchange of information with stakeholders along the value chain.

Potential Impact - The project will provide support for pork industry and farmers, but also for the decision-making and improving processes of governmental authorities towards an animal-friendly and consumer-accepted pork production across the EU.

Coordinated by: Prof. Volker Stefanski - University of Hohenheim (GERMANY) - Contact

Funded by: BMEL, VLAIO, DAFA, ANR, NWO, NCBR, MKGP and University of Ljubljana - Veterinary Faculty as part of the ERA-NET Cofund SusAn through a virtual common pot model including EU Top-Up funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no 696231).

7 research partners:

  • BELGIUM: Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research
  • DENMARK: SEGES Pig Research Centre
  • FRANCE: French National Institute for Agricultural Research
  • THE NETHERLANDS: Wageningen University
  • POLAND: Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • SLOVENIA: Kmetijski institute Slovenije and University of Ljubljana – Veterinary Faculty

More information

This project has been funded by BMEL, VLAIO, DAFA, ANR, NWO, NCBR and MKGP as a part of the ERA-Net Cofund SusAn (grantnr 696231) through a virtual common pot model with EU top-up.