ENBIS Spring Meeting 2018

4 – 6 June 2018; Florence, Italy Abstract submission: 17 November 2017 – 20 April 2018

Ban of castration and "boar taint" – does it matter?

6 June 2018, 09:30 – 09:55


Submitted by
Froydis Bjerke
Froydis Bjerke (Animalia Meat and Poultry Research Centre)
The EU has claimed a ban on castration of male slaughter pigs from 2018. However, the alternatives to castration are not well implemented. In order to avoid boar taint in pork meat and products thereof, the ban is postponed. What are the alternatives, and how do they compare to castration? What can be measured and what matters – for whom?
Research on boar taint and alternatives to surgical castration has been a large issue in European animal and food research for around twenty years, increasing after the pronounced ban. Alternatives include breeding to reduce boar taint in entire males, online sorting of tainted carcasses on the slaughter line, and immunocastration (injections). Since 2016, Animalia has managed a Norwegian research project "Boars to the market – solutions for Production, Pork quality & Markers for boar taint". The main objective of this project is to initiate economically sustainable alternatives to surgical castration of male pigs. In order to achieve the main objective the following sub-goals are specified:
1. Develop a new on-line measurement method of boar taint.
2. Characterise quality and yield of immunologically castrated pig carcasses.
3. Characterise consumer attitudes to and acceptance of meat from immunologically castrated pigs.
4. Investigate DNA variation for boar taint and implement genomic breeding values.

The presentation considers sub-goal 2 and how experiments and statistics are applied to investigate and quantify differences between the groups of slaughter pigs, mainly from the viewpoint of the meat industry. The analyses are quite explorative, supported by multivariate methods like Partial Least Squares and 50-50 Manova, revealing some of the challenges of measuring boar taint, and carcass and meat quality. Which traits separate the groups, and which do not?

Some references
De Briyne et al. Porcine Health Management (2016) 2:29 DOI 10.1186/s40813-016-0046-x
Langsrud, Ø. (2002), 50-50 Multivariate Analysis of Variance for Collinear Responses, The Statistician, 51, 305-317.
IPEMA, Innovative Approaches for Pork Production with Entire Males - a COST action (CA 15215) supported by the European Union. http://www.ca-ipema.eu/

The project is financially supported from the "BIONÆR" programme of the Research Council of Norway.

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