Castration of swine can help control aggressive behavior and improve the palatability of pork by eliminating most boar taint (an odor found in the meat of some adult male pigs). Current U.S. swine markets do not allow for mass marketing of uncastrated male pigs. Surgical castration is a painful surgical procedure and should be performed as early as possible. Surgical wounds should be healed prior to weaning. After 14 days of age, swine should be castrated using analgesia and/or anesthesia. The AVMA recommends the use of procedures and practices that reduce or eliminate pain, including the use of approved or AMDUCA-permissible clinically effective medications whenever possible. The AVMA encourages development and implementation of practical analgesic and anesthetic protocols for, and alternatives to, swine castration. Immunological castration is an available technology that, like surgical castration, prevents most boar taint and may be a viable alternative to surgical castration.
Welfare Implications of Teeth Clipping, Tail Docking and Permanent Identification of Piglets (PDF)
Welfare Implications of Swine Castration (PDF)