Vaccination to prevent boar taint without having to castrate male piglets is likely to become available in the European Union within the next 12 months and in the USA about six months later, according to Pfizer Animal Health. Its executives made the remark in Switzerland, which has become the first country in Europe to register the company’s Improvac vaccine. Already used in 12 other countries around the world, the vaccine uses the pig’s own immune system to temporarily block the function of the testes to reduce the level of boar taint compounds. Application to male piglets is claimed to improve the palatability of the pork as well as the feed conversion of the animal compared with castrates. “We have found from extensive taste trials that this product improves meat quality,” said Pfizer’s US-based technical director Jim Allison at the vaccine’s Swiss launch in Zurich. “For this reason as well as the fact it provides a practical, humane alternative to surgical castration, it is being welcomed across the supply chain from producers to retailers and consumers.”