1. Boar Taint: The primary reason for castration is to improve the meat flavor and quality by eliminating or reducing an odor that mature boars impart to the meat. There is much discussion as to the amount and age that boars impact the quality of meat. There is a belief that Boar Taint may be dependent upon age, breed, general environment and even upon the individual pig itself. Since Europe is intent upon ending physical castration by the year 2018, they are conducting research to define Boar Taint characteristics and alternatives to physical castration. The FDA and Europe have approved a ‘chemical’ castration but there is no long term test to determine the impact upon humans.
2. Weight Gain: As with most animal species, males gain weight more rapidly when castrated.
3. Behavior Modification: Castration seems to improve behavior for boars. They (Barrows) appear to be less aggressive and friendlier to other swine and to people. This reduces the number of fights and resulting injuries to other pigs and makes the pigs much easier to handle.
Criteria to Forgo Physical Castration: There are a few reasons why a male swine would not be castrated.
1. Breed Propagation: The breed of Red Wattle Hogs is on the critical list of extinction and there is a concerted effort to save and improve the breed line. The general selection criteria is to select the ‘best of the litter’ to be registered and use him to propagated the breed. He normally would be sold to another breeder.
2. General Consideration for Animal Welfare: Castration is not generally good for the animal and is neither pleasant nor easy to accomplish. As a result Alpha to Omega Ranch has initiated a test program to slaughter a 6-7 month old boar to determine if his meat is acceptable for sale as quality pork.
3. Alternative Castration Method: As stated above we will forego the use of chemical castration.