Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 259-272

First online:

Belgian Consumers’ Opinion on Pork Consumption Concerning Alternatives for Unanesthetized Piglet Castration

  • Sanne Van BeirendonckAffiliated withKatholieke Hogeschool Kempen Email author 
  • , Bert DriessenAffiliated withKatholieke Hogeschool Kempen
  • , Rony GeersAffiliated withLaboratory for Quality Care in Animal Production, K. U. Leuven

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Male piglets in Belgium are still castrated unanesthetized in the first week of life, but animal rights organizations, supermarkets, and some consumers no longer accept this method in terms of animal welfare, and are pushing the pig industry to apply available alternative methods. This major change in pig husbandry will increase production costs without a guarantee for return of investment by consumers. Therefore, it is important to know the opinion of consumers on this matter. A questionnaire was used to collect data from 1,018 people through face to face interviewing in Flanders. A Chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test were used to analyze the data. Results show that in spite of several media campaigns of animal welfare organizations over the past few years, still half of the Flemish respondents were not aware of the problem of unanesthetized piglet castration. However, after being informed, the majority wanted unanesthetized castration to be banned. Although the concern about animal welfare implications was very high, the willingness to pay extra for alternatives was low.


Castration Consumer Piglet Pork