#18-037

Complete

Category

Date Full Report Received

11/18/2020

Date Abstract Report Received

11/18/2020

Investigation

Institution:
Primary Investigator:

Surgical castration is a painful husbandry procedure typically performed on piglets in the United States (US) within the first week of life. Castration is used to improve meat quality, and as a result, nearly all male pigs destined for slaughter in the US will be castrated. In recent years, consumers and retailers have questioned the ethicality of castration as a production practice, given that it results in pain experienced by the piglet. However, eliminating castration is not practical at this time in the US, and the adoption of pain management protocols remains the most viable solution to managing pain associated with castration. Given that veterinarians often have direct oversight regarding the development of animal care protocols, the objective of the present study is to identify factors influencing swine veterinarian decision-making in regard to pain management for piglet castration using focus group methodologies. Three main areas of focus were identified and included (1) the lack of approved products validated for efficacy, (2) economic limitations and challenges, and (3) deficient guidelines and training for veterinarians to develop protocols. These barriers must be addressed, moving forward, to support the use of pain management protocols for castrated piglets throughout the US swine industry.

Key Findings:
The three main barriers that must be addressed in order to move forward and support the use of pain management protocols for castrated piglets in the US swine industry is:
• The lack of approved products for pain relief that have been validated for efficacy
• Economic limitations and challenges associated with administering analgesic drugs to pigs
• Deficient guidelines and training for veterinarians to develop protocols.