Early immunocastration of pigs: from farming to meat quality
The study aimed to test a very early immunization of pigs to prevent boar taint with regardto its practicability and influence on production performance, its reliability in ensuring good meat and fat quality, and animal welfare. Immunization was already conducted at piglet production stage and could be easily integrated into routine vaccination (week 3) and weaning practices (week7). The fattening and slaughter performance of the animals was not affected by the immunization regime and was within the usual range. In addition, there were no abnormalities in animal behavior and the prevalence of injuries caused by aggressive interactions. All animals were classified as infertile on the basis of the histological examination of the testicles. However, the testosterone levels measured at slaughter were significantly higher in animals of the early immunization regime than in animals subjected to the standard immunization regime. Androstenone and skatole levels as the main components of boar taint were, on average, higher and varied to a greater extent in early immunized animals. Furthermore, the comparison of the immunization scheme did not result insignificant differences for meat quality and for fatty acid composition.