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Alternative to Physical Castration of Pigs

by 5m Editor
24 August 2011, at 11:28am

CANADA - Pfizer Animal Health has begun the gradual introduction of a new product in Canada that eliminates boar taint in pork without the need for physical castration, according to Bruce Cochrane.

Last month, Pfizer Animal Health received approval from the Veterinary Drug Directorate of Health Canada for the sale of Improvest in Canada, a product designed to help eliminate boar taint, and is now gradually introducing the product through a series of pilot projects.

Boar taint is an unpleasant odour or flavour that affects the meat of some intact male pigs and is most commonly addressed through castration but rearing male pigs to a lighter slaughter weight has been shown to be somewhat effective while modifying diets has been a less reliable approach.

Pfizer Animal Health Team Leader for Improvest, Peter van Vloten, explains the product is a protein that works like an immunisation to interrupt testicular function, replacing the need for castration.

Peter van Vloten-Pfizer Animal Health

When we raise intact male pigs rather than barrows or physically castrated pigs we see a number of advantages.

One of those is that intact male pigs are more feed efficient so they convert feed more efficiently to meat.

In addition to that intact male pigs tend to produce additional meat or additional lean meat.

The other really interesting thing is that some of the effects of physical castration of course are eliminated so, because we don't need to physically castrate pigs when we use Improvest, some of the potential infections associated with physical castration which may lead to poor doing pigs or even mortality in some cases are not encountered when we use Improvest.


Mr van Vloten noted that Improvest is now registered in 60 countries including China, Japan, all of the European Union, the United States and now Canada. He added that through extensive research and commercial use in millions of pigs over the past 12 years, the product has been proven effective and safe.