In the past decade, castration (with or without sedation) is increasingly perceived as an intervention in the integrity of the pig as well as undermining the welfare of the animal. Moreover, farmers see castration of piglets as unpleasant and labor-intensive work. There are also economic disadvantages. Uncastrated pigs utilize their feed better. That is a benefit for the environment. In addition, meat from uncastrated pigs contains less fat.
Despite its many advantages, not everyone is convinced of the need not to end castration of male piglets. Thus, international trade, supermarkets and butchers sometimes are reluctant because they fear the possibility of pork with boar taint. Pig farmers are not all in favor as uncastrated male pigs require different management and skills at farm level.
European and international markets have different opinions about the castration of pigs. In Europe, farm animals have to meet strict welfare requirements. The European Commission and representatives of the European pig sector (from pig farmers to supermarkets) come to an agreement to end castration of pigs in 2018 in Europe. The signing of the agreement is voluntary based.