Commonly, pig farmers surgically castrate male pigs in the first weeks of life, generally without using anaesthesia and analgesia, in order to avoid boar taint and problems with aggression between uncastrated male pigs. According to EU Directive 2001/93/EEC, castration is allowed without anaesthetic for piglets less than one week old. For older piglets surgical castration must be performed by a veterinarian using anaesthesia and additional prolonged analgesia.

Veterinary surgeons are professionally responsible for the well being of animals. This means that in their opinion, pigs should not be castrated unless there are well-founded reasons to do so and the pain and stress arising from the castration are compensated by a proportioned benefit.