Pig association cautions against pet micro-pigs

The National Pig Association (NPA) is urging the public to abandon a trend of keeping micro-pigs as pets, due to “perpetuating serious animal welfare problems”.

The NPA said some micro-pig breeds were originally developed for medical research and can carry genetic mutations which are responsible for their dwarfism, deformed skulls and weak limbs.

Meanwhile, other breeds have been developed by successfully breeding from litter runts and this can lead to expensive vet bills caused by “genetic weaknesses and susceptibilities, including walking difficulties and obesity”, the NPA reported.

“Continued breeding of micro-pigs may compromise animal welfare and should not be encouraged, says NPA. Pigs generally do not make good house pets because they are programmed to root and chew, so they can be destructive if kept in a house or smart town garden.”

The NPA warns the pigs also pose a risk to the nation’s commercial pig herd, as micro-pigs can catch and spread diseases such as foot-and-mouth, but in many cases may be harder to trace as some owners may not be aware of the legal requirement to register them.

“A further risk for unsuspecting buyers is they may be sold what appears to be a micro-pig, but is in fact just a small pig which in time will grow to 150-200kg,” the NPA said in a statement.

This was certainly the case for Chloe Campbell whose ‘micro-pig’ began to grow bigger at the age of eight months. However, the pig, named Winston, remains a well-trained pet and Campbell said the family, who live in Malta, had no plans to release him into the wild.

Chloe's 'micro-pig' Winston

Campbell said: “It would be cruel to release him in to the wild now. He is used to human love, affection and care. He also loves being warm and has a bed and blanket by the fire, so being outside and cold would be horrid for him.”

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