The Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Ökologischer Landbau (LÖK) has spoken out against immunocastration in the course of the discussion on anaesthetic-free piglet castration. Associations and corporations are now vehemently demanding that vaccination against boar odour will be further permitted.
From next year on, piglets may only be castrated with anesthesia. The Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Ökologischer Landbau (LÖK), a working committee of the Conference of Agriculture Ministers, which is responsible, among other things, for the interpretation of (EU) legal regulations for organic farming, has in this context also examined the vaccination against boar odour (immunocastration) and declared its use on organic farms to be illegal. The background to the imminent ban is a non-binding interpretation of the EU Organic Regulation by the EU Commission.
Associations and corporations are now going on the barricades against this ban. Naturland, the Rewe Group, the Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare and the animal welfare organisation Provieh, among others, have joined forces to take action against it. Individual federal states, such as Lower Saxony, have announced that they will continue to allow immunocastration, which has been permitted since 2010.
“Vaccination best alternative”
According to the experts, vaccination is the best alternative to surgical castration from an animal welfare point of view. The fact that this is to be denied to organic farms of all places contradicts the basic values of organic farming and the EU Organic Regulation, in which animal welfare is of paramount importance.
Johannes Hohenester, Naturland pig farmer and 2nd chairman of Aktionsbündnis Bioschweinehalter Deutschland, reports from practical experience: “The exit from anaesthetic-free piglet castration is correct, but for a nationwide implementation we need sufficient alternatives for all farms. I myself have been using vaccination on my farm since 2017 and have had excellent experience with it. The practical implementation is good and my customers get the best meat quality from intact animals. It’s not for nothing that a neck steak from my farm was once again the test winner at Stiftung Warentest.
The following methods are currently approved for organic farming: castration under anaesthetic, pure boar fattening and boar fattening with vaccination against boar odour.