Schwein in einem Stall

THE mutilation of pigs

Animals are adapted to the farm environment, instead of vice versa


Pigs in intensive livestock farming are subjected to painful interventions. These operations are carried out without anaesthesia. Why? To save money.


  • Purpose: to prevent tail biting. Tail biting is a behavioural disorder in pigs triggered by intensive farming. 
  • A hot electrical iron (a so-called docking iron) is used to cut or burn off a piece of the tail.

castration of male animals without anaesthesia

  • Purpose: to prevent the so-called 'boar taint'.
  • The skin of the testicles is sliced open with a scalpel, the testicles are pressed out and cut off.

teeth clipping

  • Purpose: to prevent piglets from injuring the udder of the sow or each other.
  • The eye teeth are clipped using pliers.

ear tagging

  • Purpose: identification
  • The ears are pierced to fix ear tags. 

nose rings

  • Purpose: to prevent rooting in free-range farming.
  • Using pliers, a metal ring is inserted in the upper part of the pig's snout (a pig’s snout has 5,000 times more nerve ends than a human finger tip).


  1. A general ban on tail docking. Although the routine docking of curly tails has been prohibited throughout the EU since 1994, in most countries it is still carried out on 99 percent of pig farms and tolerated by authorities. The ban must be effective without exception. Appropriate conditions in pig farming do not require the amputation of body parts.
  2. The castration of male pigs must be carried out by a vet, under anaesthesia and with follow-up treatment against pain. 
  3. A ban on teeth clipping. Careful smoothing down may be carried out in the case of injury to the piglets or sow.
  4. The replacement of ear tags through alternative identification marks such as chips.
  5. The prohibition of nose rings. Rooting is a natural behaviour in pigs and should not be prevented by a painful nose ring.