Guidance provided for swine tail docking, identification, and castration

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The AVMA position statement on "Tail docking, identification, and castration of swine" has been amended to provide more appropriate guidance than included in the existing position. The Executive Board approved the recommendation of the Animal Welfare Committee, which had sought guidance from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians' Animal Welfare Committee.

The amended statement reads:

Certain procedures may be necessary for proper care and management of swine. Good hygiene and trained personnel are required.

Tail docking is a management practice performed to prevent tail biting that results from aggression between pigs. Tail docking should be performed within the first week of the pig's life.

Ear notching is a practice used for identification. It should be performed within the first week of life.

Castration of swine can help control aggression. Castration should be performed at least 5 days prior to weaning to allow adequate healing. When swine are castrated after they are 28 days old, anesthesia and/or analgesia should be used, and these castrations should be performed by a veterinarian.