Minister supports ban on non-anesthetized piglet castration in Belgium

Minister supports ban on non-anesthetized piglet castration in Belgium
Piglets with their mother behind bars at a farm, photo: Canva

Flemish minister of animal welfare Ben Weyts has expressed his support for a ban on piglet castration without anesthesia in Flanders (Belgium). His statement comes in response to footage released by animal rights organization GAIA, showing a farmer castrating piglets without anesthesia.

Five to six million male pigs are bred annually in Belgium, with 80% of them castrated. Most of these procedures are performed without anesthesia, GAIA said in a press release. In the footage the baby male pigs are heard screaming in extreme pain from being castrated without sedation.

“Only a legal ban on the castration of piglets will remove the very serious and unacceptable suffering experienced by Belgian piglets during and after castration,” Ann de Greef, director at GAIA, said. Weyts supports GAIA’s call for a ban on non-anesthetized castration and has reportedly already raised the issue at the European level.

Farmers castrate pigs aged three to seven days to prevent the development of sexual hormones, which, in some cases, can release an unpleasant odor when the meat is heated, known as ‘boar taint.’ A vaccine against this odor is available and currently given to 15% of Belgian male piglets.

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