Belgian Consumers’ Opinion on Pork Consumption Concerning Alternatives for Unanesthetized Piglet Castration
- 200 Downloads
Male piglets in Belgium are still castrated unanesthetized in the first week of life, but animal rights organizations, supermarkets, and some consumers no longer accept this method in terms of animal welfare, and are pushing the pig industry to apply available alternative methods. This major change in pig husbandry will increase production costs without a guarantee for return of investment by consumers. Therefore, it is important to know the opinion of consumers on this matter. A questionnaire was used to collect data from 1,018 people through face to face interviewing in Flanders. A Chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test were used to analyze the data. Results show that in spite of several media campaigns of animal welfare organizations over the past few years, still half of the Flemish respondents were not aware of the problem of unanesthetized piglet castration. However, after being informed, the majority wanted unanesthetized castration to be banned. Although the concern about animal welfare implications was very high, the willingness to pay extra for alternatives was low.
KeywordsCastration Consumer Piglet Pork
The authors would like to thank Ellen De Maeyer for helping with the practical accomplishment of the questionnaires and the anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of this paper for their helpful comments.
- Anand, K. J. S. (1990). Neonatal responses to anesthesia and surgery. Clinical Perinatology, 17, 207–214.Google Scholar
- Bonneau, M. (1998). Use of entire males for pig meat in the European Union. Meat Science, 49(1), 257–272.Google Scholar
- De Tavernier, J., Lips, D., & Aerts, S. (2005). Dier en Welzijn. Tielt, Belgium: Terra-Lannoo nv.Google Scholar
- Dijksterhuis, G. B., Engel, B., Walstra, P., Furnols, M. F. I., Agerhem, H., Fischer, K., et al. (2000). An international study on the importance of androstenone and skatole for boar taint: II. Sensory evaluation by trained panels in seven European countries. Meat Science, 54(3), 261–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- European Commission. (2001). Commission Directive 2001/93/EC of 9 November 2001 amending Directive 91/630/EEC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs.Google Scholar
- European Declaration on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs. (2011). http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/farm/initiatives_en.htm.
- European Food Safety Authority. (2004). Welfare aspects of the castration of piglets. The EFSA Journal, 91, 1–100.Google Scholar
- Fitzgerald, M. (1994). Neurobiology of foetal and neonatal pain: Textbook of pain (3rd ed.). London: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
- Font i Furnols, M., Gispert, M., Guerrero, L., Velarde, A.,Tibau, J., Soler, J., & Hortós, M. (2008). Consumers’ sensory acceptability of pork from immunocastrated male pigs. Meat Science, 80, 1013–1018.Google Scholar
- Font i Furnols, M., & Oliver, M. A. (1999). Production and consumption of pork meat with different levels of boar taint. Food Science and Technology International, 5, 367–375.Google Scholar
- Harper, G., & Henson, S. (2001). Consumer Concerns About Animal Welfare and the Impact on Food Choice. EU FAIR CT98-3678 Final Report, pp. 38. http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/animal/welfare/eu_fair_project_en.pdf.
- Hendriksen, C. F. M., & Boumans, I. J. M. M. (2006). Een rapport over de ontwikkelingen inen rondom het proefdiergebruik en alternatieven voor dierproeven. De proefdierbarometer. http://www.vet.uu.nl/nca/userfiles/other/Proefdierbarometer.pdf.
- Henke, J., & Ehrhardt W. (2004). Anästhesie und Analgesie beim Klein- und Heimtier sowie bei Vögeln, Reptilien, Amphibien und Fischen. Schattauer Verlag, 369–405.Google Scholar
- Prunier, A., Bonneau, M., von Borell, E. H., Cinotti, S., Gunn, M., Fredriksen, B., et al. (2006). A review of the welfare consequences of surgical castration in piglets and the evaluation of non-surgical methods. Animal Welfare, 15, 277–289.Google Scholar
- Van Beirendonck, S., Driessen, B., Verbeke, G., & Geers, R. (2011). Behavior of piglets with or without carbon dioxide anesthesia. Journal of Animal Science, 89(10), 3310–3317.Google Scholar
- Vanhonacker, F., Verbeke, W., & Tuyttens, F. (2009). Belgian consumers’ attitude towards surgical castration and immunocastration of piglets. Animal Welfare, 18, 371–380. Google Scholar
- Verbeke, W. (2009). Stakeholder, citizen and consumer interests in farm animal welfare. Animal Welfare, 18, 325–333.Google Scholar