Hogs in Britain (Part Three): Teacup Pigs

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    In my previous article about hogs in Britain, I discussed the commercial value in exporting prime pigs to China, along with using them to address Britain's food waste problem. But there is another facet of British society where hogs are finding themselves in the spotlight again. More British residents are seeing teacup hogs as lovable pets.

    On the surface, this may sound wonderful for the pigs, but not necessarily. As with any other fad pet craze, the end result is usually hundreds of unwanted animals in shelters when the hype sizzles down.

    This pig is becoming THE hottest pet choice in Britain. Even though they are known as teacup pigs, they are only this size as piglets, and they can weigh up to 75 pounds when fully grown.

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    Breeder Jane Croft developed her particular breed by combining Miniature Pot-Bellied pigs with Kune Junes, Tamworths and Glouster Old Spots. She charges up to $1100 for each piglet, and they will only be sold in pairs. However, she only sells to owners to whom she feels are qualified to care for them.

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    (Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, purchased a pair of piglets from Craft.)

    In Britain, you have to have a license to own pigs.

    Miniature pigs of this variety love to do tricks, but they can get lazy as they get older, and will need plenty of exercise and stimulation. And, just like any other pig, they are very smart animals, and they will take advantage of owners if they don't have enough positive discipline in their lives. They can be trained to use litters like cats, and they can go out on walks in the same way as a dog.

    Teacup Fad

    All too often we see people abandoning these pet pigs, which was the case with the Vietnamese Pot-Bellied pig. The main reason why people abandoned the Vietnamese hog was because they grew much larger than people anticipated.

    This could lead to a higher teacup abandonment rate, and the breed could fall out of popularity in a hurry. The breeders who use these pigs often use deceptive advertising when selling these pigs. Since they are normally bred around the age of 3-4 months of age, many would-be owners will think the adults are fully grown by then, and some breeders may tell owners that they never get beyond a certain size. Not all breeders do this, but in tougher economic times, people are willing to sell anything and say anything for a quick sale. Even cases where breeders give all pertinent information, many consumersignore the information and buy the pigs because of its size and cuteness.

    When dealing with a pig breeder, find a reputable one who will fully disclose its growing size, and how much food it needs to remain healthy. But the place to look for a pig of any kind would be at pig shelters.

    Animal Cruelty?

    According to the Southern California Association of Miniature Pot-Bellied Pigs (SCAMPP), the best bet is to find a local shelter instead of going to a breeder. And the SCAMPP raises the ethical issue of breeding smaller pigs. There is concern that the pigs are starved and malnourished in order to foster smaller piglets. There are those who argue that this amounts to animal cruelty, since the pigs are bred below their natural weight and height levels. And there are times when breeders will recommend diets that will keep the pig stunted while growing. Whether or not you believe breeding teacup pigs is animal cruelty, we may sadly see more of these pigs in shelters because of the hog hype.

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