By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director
Intelligent. Clean. Social. Curious. These are all words that can be used to describe a pig. Borrowing from the book “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, we can add “terrific, radiant and humble” to the list.
“Micro, mini, and teacup” are words that should never be associated with pigs. The trend of people purchasing “micro-pigs” seems to ebb and flow with pop culture.
The truth is, a “micro-pig” is just a baby pot-bellied pig that may be very sweet and small when it is 1 month old, but that pig will quickly grow to 100-150 pounds.
Inbreeding small pigs to create smaller offspring is a common problem. This leads to genetic disorders, short life spans and a host of health problems. Breeders make false guarantees on their websites that these pigs will not grow to be over 12 pounds, which is incredibly deceitful. The fact is, if a pig is not growing to it’s full potential it is because it is being underfed. A breeder will often sell a pig along with “special” food and very strict dietary rules to feed the pig only a small amount of food per day. Of course restricting the caloric intake will stop the pig from growing large very quickly. But these animals will either die from starvation or more likely become very destructive to a home when their survival instincts kick in and they search for food wherever they can get it.
Abandoned pigs have become a huge problem when people can no longer care for a 100, 200, even 300 pound animal in their home. Sanctuaries and farms are often overwhelmed with requests to take in pigs that people no longer want. The cost of caring for a pig is very high when they receive the proper diet, veterinary care, exercise and stimulation they require. It is heartbreaking for these rescuers to know that as long as breeders are feeding people false information, there will be no way to stem this problem without properly educating people.
The fact is, pigs were just never intended to fit into our pockets or purses. Just like any other living being, pigs need to be fed a proper diet, not restricted to our ideals. Most importantly, pigs need a lot of socialization and other piggy friends. If you know someone who is contemplating purchasing a pig, please let them know that the myth turns quickly into a harsh reality that will likely be more than they can handle. It is up to us to stop the vicious cycle of breeding and abandonment.