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Fewer Dutch Pigs Castrated

19 March 2014

THE NETHERLANDS - Almost three-quarters of Dutch boars are now left uncastrated - significantly more than the five per cent at the start of the study.

As a result of the unique collaboration among the entire pork chain, government bodies and the scientific community in the project Boars2018, now nearly 75 per cent of all boars in the Netherlands are not castrated.

When the project - by LEI Wageningen UR, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, Swine Innovation Centre Sterksel - started, only five per cent of boars were not castrated.

For years, the fear of boar taint meant that only meat from barrows was accepted. Boar taint is an unpleasant odour and flavour in pork which becomes evident when the meat is cooked. LEI Wageningen UR and Livestock Research have researched the process from piglet to cutlet to find where steps can be taken to convince the market to accept boar meat. This results in improved animal welfare and economic advantages in the primary sector.

To date, the Human Nose System (HNS) detection method is the most reliable method for discovering boar taint. The research showed that well-selected and properly-trained testers work very reliably. Boar taint is caused by the natural substances skatole and androstenone, and the testers can easily detect their presence.

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