Wednesday, October 12, 2011

UK Pigglet Castration

So I found out a few days ago, that it is against animal welfare laws to castrate pigs in the UK. I thought these seems a little strange, so I decided to look into it.

I can't recommend not watching the video if you are squeamish, because I'm not and it made me a little ill.

When we castrate the goats or the cows* it's  an elastic band over the entire scrotum and it cuts off the blood supply to the testicles, they die & fall off. Relatively painless, especially when done young, and easy to do.

(*funny story there, I swear my husband said our boys had been done, turns out I heard him wrong. I thought things were starting to look a little... developed back there. This just means we have to change our plans a little as to when the second cow will finish.)

After watching the video, I understand why the UK banned the practice of pig castration, especially for piglet over 7 days without anesthesia. This has become such a big issue in the EU, fast food chains (like McDs and BK) have pledged not to sell pork products from castrated pigs. Overall, this is an easy one for farmers, they send the pigs to market before 1 year of age, before hormones become a problem; there maybe a small percentage of pork lost to boar taint, but they are also saving on labour.

I am a little concerned that so far my research shows that organic/free-range/grass raised etc farms tend to castrate pigs because they have to keep them around a little longer. So I'm going to have to do some more research before we get pigs (hopefully next year).

We don't purchase a lot of pork products because I disagree so strongly with many of they ways pigs are commercially raised. They are intelligent, social animals, and don't deserve the inhumanity with which we treat them. 

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