Conferences & Meetings

November 14, 2013 – Boars 5 years underway

End 2013 the Dutch project to end castration of male pigs is 5 years underway with 5 years to go to accomplish the European ambition. The Netherlands realized their goal due to a unique cooperation within and around the supply chain. At a meeting in November 2013 all parties involved in the Dutch project discussed the past, the current situation and future steps.
Click here to read the Dutch history of Boars heading for 2018.

December 17, 2012 – European Partnership on Pig Castration

The European Commission organised on December 17, 2012 in Brussels a conference for the European working group on alternatives for pig castration. Representatives of European farmers, meat industry, retailers, scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare NGO’s were attending. The workshop was a follow-up of the meetings of the working group in 2010. Read more about the conference at

November 30 and December 1 2011 – International Conference Boars heading for 2018

The goal of the international conference Boars heading for 2018 in Amsterdam, was to explore, develop and work together to meet the European declaration on alternatives for surgical castration of pigs in 2018. The conference discussed the challenges and chances to end castration of male pigs in the European Union. At the conference knowledge and facts were exchanged, the European challenges were inventorised to find possible directions for solutions in the various European countries. Delegates had the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships.
The conference focussed on organizations, companies, NGO”s, scientists and journalists involved in the European pork chain.

Speakers at the conference were:
Mr Andrea Gavinelli, DG Health and consumers
Mrs Maria Angels Oliver, IRTA
Mr Marcello Marchesi, (Martini group) on behalf of Assocarni
Mr Hubert Kelliger, Westfleisch
Mr Michel Courat, Eurogroup for Animals
Mrs Annechien ten Have-Mellema, LTO Varkenshouderij
Mr Gé Backus, LEI Wageningen University and Research centre

For more information about the actor program click here

December 2, 2011 – International scientific program Boars heading for 2018

An international Scientific program was organised following the international conference Boars heading for 2018 in Amsterdam on November 30 and December 1, 2011. During the program 24 European scientists presented their research programs, results and challenges. Scientists had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and to build and strengthen relationships.

Click here for the scientific presentations

September-November 2010 – European Partnership on Pig Castration

The European Commission and the Belgian presidency organised a workshop on alternatives for pig castration in the European Union. Invited were representatives of European farmers, meat industry, retailers, scientist, veterinarians and animal welfare NGO’s. This working group discussed during meetings on September 2, October 13 and November 19, 2010 the challenges and chances to end castration of male pigs in the EU.

Surgical castration of male piglets is an animal welfare concern. It has been scientifically proven, using physiological and ethological parameters, that surgical castration is a painful intervention even when performed on very young animals. Castration is practiced to avoid the development of undesirable sexual or aggressive behaviour and to avoid the development of boar taint, since the expected taste and odour of pig meat is a very important aspect that consumers take into account when buying pork.
Castration is not a producer’s decision but a market driven choice. Castration always has an impact on the type, quality and quantity of meat and fat. On the other hand, non surgical castration has a positive impact on feed conversion and consequently, on the environment.
The working group signed the ‘European Declaration on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs’.
Read more about the ‘Declaration on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs’ and it’s signatories at the website

November 29, 2007 – Declaration of Noordwijk

Several parties in the Dutch society (from pig farmers to NGO’s) like to bring animal welfare to a higher level and want to end non-anesthetic castration of pigs. Dutch supermarkets indicated that as of January 1, 2009 they will be selling only fresh pork from castrated piglets using anesthesia. Other parties in the pork production chain followed their example. The Dutch pork industry has taken its responsibility and decided to strive to completely stop surgical castration by 2015.
To reach these goals parties signed the Declaration of Noordwijk at a meeting in Noordwijk. Castration while using anesthesia is seen as an interim solution to give parties the opportunity to adapt to the new reality. The costs will be passed on to the market. The action plan also consisted of a number of issues such as creating mathematical models for the reimbursement of costs. In addition, they decided to share all relevant work with European partners to raise a practical, affordable way to find a solution to the surgical castration of boars. Click here for the Declaration of Noordwijk (in Dutch).