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No such thing as teacup pigs

October
29

Now I think I may have heard everything. Got this today from the Best Friends Animal Society. There’s a “Pignorance Quiz” at the very end.

The current celebrity-driven craze for mythical “teacup” pigs as pets will result in thousands of these animals ending up at overburdened sanctuaries, shelters and rescue groups when they outgrow their purported small size, according to Best Friends Animal Society.

 To see video, ”>follow this link
baby-pig-2
Yvonne McIntosh, an animal care manager for Best Friends who is an expert on potbellied pigs, says she was “horrified” when MSNBC, The Today Show, New York Post and other media ran cutesy stories about supposedly tiny pigs and gushed when Paris Hilton and Rupert Gint, of Harry Potter fame, recently adopted supposed micro pigs.

“You can call them ‘teacup,’ ‘mini,’ ‘micro,’ or ‘thimble,’ but the truth is the supposedly tiny pigs do not exist,” says McIntosh who manages Piggy Paradise at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. “People who think they are buying a pig that stays small are being fooled. Unscrupulous breeders are breeding pigs less than a year old, and by the time the litter is born, the parents still are only about eight months old and far below their full size.wild-baby-pig-pigs-2941013-500-375


 
McIntosh says it takes four to five years for pigs to reach full growth. “The breeders tell folks that the piglets will be no bigger than the parents, but the buyer doesn’t realize the parent pigs are nowhere near full-grown themselves.  Unfortunately, most people believe these breeders/sellers and do not educate themselves before they buy the pigs.”
 
McIntosh compares the small pig fad to a time when Los Angeles shelters were overwhelmed with small, purebred dogs that people bought so they could carry one in their purse, but eventually were abandoned in droves. When the novelty wears off, when the pig reaches 150 to 300 pounds instead of the 40 pounds it was supposed to be, or when people find out their local zoning doesn’t allow pigs, there is no place for them to go and they become homeless. 
 
McIntosh has surveyed colleagues at pig sanctuaries and rescue organizations such as PigASus Sanctuary, Forgotten Angels Rescue & Education Center and Hamalot Pot Bellied Pig Rescue about their experiences with this trend. Some 300 full-to-capacity potbellied pig rescues throughout the country house approximately 300,000 potbellied pigs. And in the current economy, potbellied pig rescuers are also seeing increased requests to take in even more pigs. 
 
“One pig sanctuary owner received a call from a woman who wanted to dump the two potbellied pigs she’s had for almost nine years so that she could buy ‘teacup-sized’ pigs,” McIntosh says.
 
Sadly, the lucky pigs may be the ones who end up in rescue. It is not uncommon for the pigs to be simply turned out as strays, even in cities. Many are taken to shelters and euthanized without any chance at adoption or placement. Other owners will kill the pigs or send them to auction where they can be bought for as little as $2 dollars and used to train fighting dogs or other similar fates.  
 
“A huge number of these little pigs also end up being stuck all alone in a small enclosure in a back corner of the yard, quite neglected once the novelty has worn off and the pig is fully grown,” McIntosh said. “Because they are extremely social animals, this is a torturous life for them. There are thousands and thousands of ‘miniature’ pigs killed every year.”
 
And while the media-driven craze for toy-size pigs continues, it totally blots out the most important fact — that pigs are wonderful companion animals.
 
“At Best Friends our motto is rooting out ‘pignorance’ one human at a time,” McIntosh adds. “There are scientific studies that show pigs are smarter than dogs. They can be trained to do tricks. They are easier to housebreak than dogs. They are clean animals who love affection and give it back —on their pig terms of course. Socialized pigs actually crave human company.
 
“Bringing a pig into your home is not quite the same as bringing home a dog or cat; pigs require specialized care and proper housing … that’s why it is so important to fully educate yourself before getting one,” McIntosh says.
 
To learn more about the ever-engaging potbellied pigs, visit the Best Friends Pet Care Library’s section, “You and Your Pig” and the Piggy Paradise community on the Best Friends Network.

 
TAKE THE BEST FRIENDS ‘PIGNORANCE’ QUIZ: TRUE OR FALSE?
          
·         Pigs are dumb – FALSE!!
 
Pigs are smarter (and easier to housetrain) than dogs. It’s true! 
They aren’t always obedient though … kind of like cats!
          
·         Pigs are dirty – FALSE!!
 
Pigs are clean and do not smell when living a healthy life. They use mud to keep cool because nature designed them to do so. Humans go to spas for mud baths … does that make us unclean?
         
·         Pigs are fun – TRUE!!
 
Pigs are FULL of personality! 
Some are quiet, some are comical, but all can be very affectionate!
        
·         Pigs can be trained – TRUE!!
 
Pigs can be trained like dogs. They can be clicker-trained to learn commands and to perform tricks!
       
·         Pigs are fat and lazy – FALSE!!
 
When fed a proper diet full of healthy veggies, pigs will have “curves,” but won’t be obese. They love to run and play, only pigs that have been misfed and/or overfed will be porky!

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 1:01 pm by Laurel Babcock. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Animal care, Animal rescue, Animal safety, Pigs

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20 Responses to “No such thing as teacup pigs”

  1. ilb2001

    Laurel, you’ve got to be kidding me! Are those people really that dumb?? Well, nothing can be a surprise anymore.
    So what’s next, a pocket-size behemoth perhaps? That would be a novelty on Park Avenue.

  2. Laurel Babcock

    Paris Hilton. Need they say more?

  3. ilb2001

    Oh, yeah, her too. Pocket size or purse?

  4. Mothrcat

    Absurd…...are these the same people who bought the pet rock and dogless leash!!!!!!

  5. Laurel Babcock

    and mood rings…..oh, wait, I had one of those….

  6. bullwhips

    As the proud piggy mama of a “mini” pig, I can assure you that piglets are absolutely adorable, entertaining, amusing and sweet. But…they grow up and they are pigs! My boy is now 2 years old and weighs 150 lbs but I wouldn’t dream of dumping him at a shelter or throwing him out in the backyard. Pigs are special..intelligent and highly emotional and are NOT for everyone. People need to do their homework before purchasing a pet pig!

  7. Laurel Babcock

    Just like kittens grow up to be cats and puppies grow up to be dogs…..

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  16. Teacup pig

    You make some great points in your article. There unfortunately are a lot of pigs that end up in sanctuaries because their owners weren’t properly prepared to raise a pig

  17. SP

    I unfortunately did not do my homework and was told my pig would be 16-28lbs, yeah the mini pig, a mini juliana, well my pig is an 85lb pot bellied pig. Bacon Eugene, and I am ok with it, I do love him he’s smart, funny and a year old now. If I had to do it again? no way, it’s like having a child, you can’t leave for the weekend and think you can leave food out, they eat everything at one sitting, not like cats or some dogs. But I would never dump him, so I will raise him like a large dog =)

    He started charging people though and I need to figure out a game plan for that now =*(

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  20. Donna Giffin

    I didn’t make it thru all of this…only because you posted a picture of a “wild” piglet…the one with the stripes…I raise those piglets…you want to know the truth about PIGS…ask ME!!!! I raise them ans breed them!!!! Pigs are wonderful YES…cute and adorable when first born…YES!!! ...the rest is way to much to explain…unless you have a great food supply or lots of money…leave the pigs alone!!! If you want info on raising pigs…email me…donnagiffinfr@gmail.com

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For most animal lovers, pets are members of the family. They carry around pictures in their wallets and schedule vacations with pets in mind. This blog takes a look into the world of a pet owner: the good, the bad and the just plain obsessive.









About the author
Laurel Babcock is the Community Life editor for The Journal News, Express Publications and LoHud.com. She grew up with a beloved mutt and was surrounded by dogs into young adulthood. She liked cats enough, but didn't really think of them as true pets. That changed when her brother brought an abandoned 4-week-old kitty into the family, dooming us all. Laurel currently serves as staff for two completely adored cats, Stanley and Cup, both girls.


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