End Painful Castration of Pigs


Target: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Goal: Stop pigs from being painfully castrated.

Young piglets have parts of their genitals torn out by factory workers, and there is little doubt that this causes them a tremendous amount of pain. The castration of pigs is a painful technique designed to curb aggressive behavior and improve the taste of the meat, but it is often done without the use of anesthesia. Farms undoubtedly omit anesthesia because it is just another expense, but the pig experiences immeasurable pain and misery throughout its short life.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, castration is usually conducted in the first few days of life, because it is believed that the pain is not as extreme when the animal is young. However, they also note that the data do not seem to support this belief; castration is likely to be painful regardless of the age of the animal. Although more research is needed on the nervous system of pigs, we can make the safe assumption that castration is not a pleasant experience for the piglet. Furthermore, there are painless alternatives to this barbaric method. The USDA suggests immunological castration as an alternative to surgical castration. It’s conceivable that, as our technology progresses, other painless and noninvasive procedures will take the place of surgical castration.

Sign this petition to ask the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to put an end to this terrible abuse, and to pursue less painful methods of castration of pigs.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

I was appalled to learn about the surgical castration that is being performed on piglets. The purpose of this procedure is to improve the taste of the meat and curb aggressive behavior in the pigs. However, it is often done without the use of anesthesia, presumably because farm owners don’t want to go to that expense. I worry that this procedure causes the pig too much pain, and I feel that it should be halted pending further research.

Although it is widely believed that the pigs do not experience severe pain in their first few days of life, there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to believe that this is the case. As a consumer, I don’t feel that it’s too much to ask that meat products are processed in a humane way. I ask that you please end this cruel practice and investigate more humane methods of swine castration, such as immunological castration. Together we can ensure that pork products are produced in a humane way.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: A. Sparrow via Flickr

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  1. Ravinder Singh says:

    who so ever is doing this please do the same procedure on these men also.

  2. linda roxburgh says:

    Dear God, are we in the dark ages??? Humane methods have been invented, use them..!!!

  3. Cynthia dsouza says:

    Fucking humans

  4. Joanna Jenkins says:

    This must END RIGHT now and END OF DISCUSSION !

  5. It’s more common than you think, unfortunately. I saw this happen in Oklahoma years ago when I was fairly young. A pig was knocked out with an injection in a dirty barn, cut open and the testicles were roughly pulled out and literally thrown against the wall to the side. He was stitched up and left there. I was told he will wake up and be fine as o watched the pig shake in pain. Right after that there was a show goat with an extra few nipples. They held him up and cut them off before putting surgical glue on them. Nothing was given for pain and she screamed. This was at a vet clinic in Oklahoma my friend volunteered at and brought me too. I don’t remember the location or name.
    In vet clinics around the country for docking tails and removing due claws on puppies, it’s not much better. At a clinic I worked at, towards the end of my stay, I saw them do this to some fairly newborn puppies. They just cut the tail off and put surgical glue on them. Nothing for pain and the puppies screamed. I asked questions and I was told this was normal and that it’s fine because the puppies won’t remember it. I don’t care too much for that answer. I had my ears pierced as a baby, I don’t remember it, but getting more piercings later in life, I know how much it hurts. It’s not that we don’t feel the pain, we just don’t remember it.
    The due claws were cut off and a quick stop bleeding stick (I don’t remember the technical name) was used for the blood (I don’t remember if it was on the tail) and then glued. The stick burns and is known to be painful.
    It may be common practice, but to me it’s in humane. I’m sure it’s not just this place.

  6. Ildiko Ridley says:

    Again, the only solution is to stop eating meat so there will be no need to farm and slaughter animals. the whole business is cruel, abusive and exploitative from beginning to end. I want nothing to with it and no compassionate human should.

  7. Like Ildiko, I decided 48 years ago to have nothing to do with any of it and hopefully as they assess more and more information about how their ‘meat’ is produced and the animals that provide it are treated, more and more will opt to go vegan or vegetarian, for the rest of their lives. My mother swore I would die when I gave it up but I am here and healthy in mind, body and spirit for having done so.

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