Zoetis researches impact of immunological castration

Even at modest adoption rates, use of immunocastration could generate significant environmental benefits.

Zoetis recently unveiled new research that will help pork producers and meat packers produce wholesome pork with less environmental impact. The research is based on a lifecycle assessment (LCA) conducted in the U.S. for IMPROVEST (gonadotropin releasing factor analog — diphtheria toxoid conjugate), an Food & Drug Administration-approved veterinary prescription product that successfully reduces unpleasant odors that can occur when cooking pork from some male pigs.

The LCA found that even modest adoption rates (33%) of IMPROVEST on U.S. pig farms could generate significant environmental benefits. This outcome reinforced findings of an LCA conducted in countries outside the U.S., which supported the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) granted to IMPROVEST by the International Environmental Consortium in 2012. The U.S. study was funded by Zoetis and conducted by the University of Arkansas.

"With protein demand growing worldwide, IMPROVEST can help the entire pork supply chain be even more sustainable," said Gloria Basse, vice president of the Zoetis U.S. Pork Business Unit. "The LCA analysis shows significant reductions in feed, water and land usage associated with use of IMPROVEST."

This year, a team of environmental experts from the University of Arkansas, The Prasino Group and Life Cycle Engineering analyzed U.S. LCA data for IMPROVEST. The analysis found that if one-third of the nation's pork producers adopted IMPROVEST, the following benefits would result:

* Better feed conversion, which could save nearly 60 lb. of feed per hog over physically castrated hogs. That equates to a savings of more than 500,000 tons of feed per year.

* Improved feed efficiency, which could save 37 lb. of corn and distillers grains and more than 11 lb. of soybean meal per hog, helping to reduce land use by 137,000 acres per year.

* Reduced water use, by as much as 130 gal. per market hog raised using IMPROVEST, or 2.3 billion gal. per year.

* Reduced greenhouse gas emissions, by more than 500,000 tons per year.

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