GERMANY, Berlin. Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner has pointed to the end of anesthetic-free piglet castration in Germany on January 1, 2021.
With the entry into force of one of the strictest regulations on this subject in the EU, the Federal Republic is a pioneer in Europe, emphasized the head of department before the turn of the year. In the future, complete analgesia must be guaranteed during piglet castration. The procedure could then only be carried out under general anesthesia of the animal. In contrast to other member states, local anesthesia or pain relief would no longer be sufficient in Germany. Klöckner sees the move away from anesthetic-free piglet castration as "a decisive date for greater animal welfare."
Germany will also be a pioneer in Europe here in terms of the clarity of the regulation. With the specification of pain elimination, the Federal Republic goes beyond current EU law. "For animal owners, this means more effort and investment," she said. Politicians are giving them a helping hand to make the changeover possible, she added. At the same time, she said, the trade is called upon to rely on the existing three alternatives. These are fattening of boars, vaccination against boar taint and castration under general anesthesia. Klöckner emphasized that her ministry is supporting the introduction of alternative procedures and methods to anesthetic-free piglet castration in a variety of ways in order to prevent distortions of competition caused by the stricter requirements.
For example, the purchase of anesthesia equipment is being promoted. A total of around 2,700 applications for funding with a volume of around € 13.5 mill. have already been approved. A new regulation allows general anesthesia with the anesthetic isoflurane to be carried out by the farmer or other qualified persons. The prerequisite for this is comprehensive theoretical and practical training. In addition, Klöckner stressed that her department is in continuous contact with the slaughter and processing sector and the retail trade on marketing issues. Research projects on the further development of pig farming are also supported. In addition, the ministry provides information on the topic of anesthetic-free piglet castration and alternative methods in a brochure and on its website.