France announces ban on piglet castration

France has announced a ban on piglet castration without anaesthesia, which is due to take effect at the end of 2021.

Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has also announced a ban on the practice of live-shredding day-old male chicks.

“From the end of 2021, nothing will be like it was before,” Mr Guillaume told reporters in Paris, Reuters reports.

Piglet castration, mainly done to prevent boar taint in ‘whole’ finished pigs, is widespread in France, and is generally performed without the use of anaesthetic.

“We have worked with veterinarians ready to develop a protocol for comprehensive pain management,” Mr Guillaume said.

While piglet castration is not banned in the UK, the pig industry has led the way on the practice, which is banned under the Red Tractor scheme, which covers 94% of UK pig production.

Germany was planning to ban the practice but in January 2019, it extended the transition period for banning castration of young piglets without anaesthetic by two years.

The practice was actually banned in 2013, but German farmers were granted a five-year transition period, which was due to end on January 1, 2019.

The industry was granted more time after representatives argued that farmers were not ready and that anaesthetising piglets would require extra time and space and increase costs by €2 per pig.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.