Surgical castration of piglets is a routine practice in pig production used to prevent the incidence of boar taint of pig meat, which may develop in entire male pigs as they reach puberty. This practice is being presently questioned in the European Union, and there is a strong initiative to end it. The initiative is presently voluntary; however, key stakeholders of European pig production sector have signed a declaration, and the actions undertaken by them already affect the business. Before such new concepts in pig production can be implemented, alternative solutions are needed, one of them being immunocastration. The present chapter will thus focus on the presentation of immunocastration as one of the promising alternatives to surgical castration. Theoretical and practical aspects of immunocastration in pig production will be described, and the advantages and disadvantages of this alternative will be summarised. Physiological principles of immunocastration and impacts on metabolism, growth performance, body composition and meat quality will be described and aspects of public acceptability reviewed.
Part of the book: Theriogenology