What is vaccination to control boar taint?

Vaccination against boar taint is a safe, reliable and highly effective solution that uses the pig's immunesystem to control boar taint. Vaccination offers several benefits:

  • It is as effective as physical castration in controlling boar taint
  • It permits boars to grow to their full natural potential, requiring less feed to produce the same weight compared to physically castrated pigs.
  • It enables the production of pork with the same high eating quality as physically castrated pigs and gilts
  • Its use is simple and it can be safely administered by trained farm personnel
  • It enables the production of pork that is completely safe for human consumption
  • It is an animal friendly alternative to physical castration
  • It helps lessen the environmental impact of pig production and contributes to sustainable pig farming

Below, you will find further detail explaining the vaccination approach for controlling boar taint:

How is vaccination carried out? 
Producers need a veterinary prescription to vaccinate to control boar taint. Those performing the vaccination will find the product easy to use, although they must follow appropriate procedures to minimize the risk of accidental self-injection. They simply need to administer it twice directly behind the pig's ear. Vaccination against boar taint is just as effective in controlling boar taint as physical castration. Ten years of studies consistently show efficacy over 99%.3,12

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How does vaccination work? 
The vaccine stimulates the pig's immune system to produce specific antibodies against GnRF. This temporarily inhibits testes function and thus stops the production and accumulation of boar taint–causing compounds.

By stimulating production of antibodies specific to GnRF, vaccination stops the chain of events that lead to the release of testosterone and other steroids from the testes, including androstenone — a major contributor to boar taint. The other major taint-causing compound is skatole, which is also eliminated because the lower steroid levels allow the liver to more efficiently metabolize skatole.

The vaccine not only offers an animal-friendly and a more environmentally sustainable solution to boar taint, it allows stakeholders across the pork production chain to reap the performance benefits of natural boar growth while preserving eating quality.

David Hennessy, M Agr Sci, PhD
Senior Special Projects Manager
Inventor of the first commercial boar taint vaccine 


Transcript of Video Text

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When is vaccination performed?
Each pig must be vaccinated twice to successfully control boar taint:

  • The timing of the first dose is relatively flexible
  • There has to be a minimum of four weeks between the two doses
  • The second vaccination must take place four to six weeks before slaughter
  • After the second dose, the boar's testicles stop growing

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Is vaccination safe? 

Worker safety
Over the last 10 years, trained farm personnel have safely administered millions of doses of the vaccine. Following safety protocols and using the proper injector with advanced safety features reduces the chance of accidental self-injection.

Consumer safety
Pork from vaccinated boars is completely safe for human consumption. Similar to most vaccines, the vaccination to control boar taint leaves no traces in pork that can affect human health. It neither stimulates hormone secretion nor does it add hormones to the pig and it contains no GMOs.13

With more than 10 years of experience with the vaccine in Australia and New Zealand and more than two years in South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and other countries, consumers around the world have benefited from the pork produced using the vaccine.

Animal safety
The vaccine is an animal-friendly alternative to physical castration, eliminating complications associated with physical castration, such as infection and mortality. The vaccine has been safely administered in millions of pigs for more than 10 years. Laboratory studies indicate that the vaccine causes no adverse effects in blood chemistry, hematology profiles, behavior, appetite or general health of the pig.14

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What difference does it make?

More efficient pork production
Because physical castration at an early age reduces the natural growth and metabolic efficiency of male pigs, substitution with vaccination allows boars to grow to their full natural potential, which can result in faster growth to market. Studies show that the male pigs managed with the vaccine approach need less feed to reach a given weight compared to physically castrated pigs.3-4,15-20 In some studies vaccinated pigs also grew faster than the physically castrated pigs.4,16-17,19-20

High eating quality
Vaccinated boars produce pork with the same high eating quality as that produced from physically castrated pigs and gilts. Vaccinated boars produce leaner meat with less body fat than physically castrated pigs but maintain the same high eating quality as physically castrated pigs and gilts.4-25 Intra-muscular fat percentage (a factor associated with flavor, juiciness and tenderness) is similar to physical castrates and gilts.4,13,22-25

Animal welfare friendly
Using a vaccine to control boar taint is an animal-friendly alternative as it eliminates complications with physical castration, such as infection and mortality. Incisions from physical castration can often become infected, leading to increased disease incidence or even death.

Reduced environmental impact
Vaccination against boar taint helps lessen the environmental impact of pig production and contributes to sustainable pig farming. Improved feed conversion efficiency means less feed is consumed by boars. It also means less manure is produced, which means producers have to dispose of less waste.

The vaccine also contains no chemicals or microbiological agents that pose risks to the environment.

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