To castrate or not to castrate! That is the question I am asking! The main reason to castrate animals is to prevent breeding or to control male behavior such as aggression and mating. In this article, I will focus on male pigs also known as boars. The main reason a farmer castrate boars is to prevent what is know as boar taint. It is said that once a boar reaches maturity, they produce chemicals which makes the meat smell like urine and not taste very well either. Only 25% of people most of those are women can detect the taste and scent. According to some farmers I have talked to and the articles I have read, this can be prevented almost totally by slaughtering the animal before maturity. It is also well know that only about 20% of boars have boar taint which means that 80% are fine for eating. It also depends on the breed of pig, how the pig was raised, and whether it was raised in a calm environment on pastures or a very stressful environment such as in a CAFO. Their diet also has a lot to do with it according to one farmer I talked to. Whether the pig ate a total corn/soy diet or did his diet have fiber such as grass included in it. This one farmer has been doing this for years now and rarely if ever did he get tainted meat and he does not castrate any of his boars. He has raised them past maturity and still did not get boar taint. I also found out that there are many different types of taint such as hormonal, bacterial, and stress which all of them automatically gets associated with the boar taint.
So where am I going with this article. Up until now I have had all my boars castrated but unfortunately this year, three of them did not get castrated because they escaped at the time. I thought that it would not be a problem but you will be surprised to find out that there is not a butcher shop in northern Ohio that will be willing to accept the animal for slaughter. They all refuse to process them claiming boar taint and that the state of Ohio will condemn the animal, if odor is present. I referenced information that it is a myth and that no pigs raised in European countries are castrated according to all the articles that I have read and it does not seem to change their minds. I guess that this boar taint issue has a lot of uneducated people convinced that since one pig may have it that all pigs will have it.
So this leaves me with two options at hand. 1) Process these three pigs for personal consumption or 2) sell them at market for under the value of what I have in the pig.
So what are your opinions of this issue of boar taint?