Micro pigs, mini pigs….. it’s a very disturbing trend that has almost turned pigs into a fashion accessory. Paris Hilton started this current porcine craze when she purchased her mini pig, Miss Piglette.
A micro pig, or tea cup pig as they are called overseas, is a very different animal to the mini pigs available in Australia. Micro pigs are bred from an array of smaller breeds including the Kune Kune and the Potbelly pig, breeds that are just not available in this country.
So how do we breed mini pigs in Australia? Our genetics are very limited and those that we do have are for the larger breeds of pigs – Landrace, Large White, Large Black, Duroc and a couple of others. These are very large animals weighing in at between 200 and 300 kilos at maturity. There is one type of pig here that is relatively small at that is the feral pig.
Unfortunately there is no such thing as a true mini pig in Australia. These tiny oinkers are bred from the runts of litters and then malnourished to prevent them from reaching their full growth potential.
The rigid diet set out by the breeders of these mini pigs is severely lacking in nutrition and is basically designed for maintenance of body condition with nothing left over for growth. The only way to keep a mini pig mini is to stunt its growth. You have to virtually starve it otherwise it will grow into quite a large animal. Even the must-have micro pigs sold overseas are subjected to this kind of dietary madness.
But the cruelty to these tiny creatures doesn’t end there. Breeders sell them complete with nose rings to prevent them digging up their new owner’s lawns. Rooting is the most basic of instincts for the pig and these so called pig lovers will prevent them from doing so by inflicting pain each time they attempt to dig.
Some mini pigs end up at the vet and their owners are very surprised to hear that their pet is suffering from malnutrition and needs immediate intervention to save it. Some owners can’t resist feeding their mini pigs forbidden treats and before they know it they have a 120 kg pig on their hands and seeking to re-home it. Most owners have no knowledge of pig behaviour or needs and unintentionally cause these animals great suffering. Unwanted pig pets could possibly increase the feral pig populations should they be dumped in bushland by their disappointed owners.
For such a large animal, it is incredible how small the pig starts out in life only weighing a couple of kilos. This is a fact that is being taken advantage of when ‘mini’ pig breeders post photo’s of their tiny merchandise on the web. Pigs are always born small but have an amazing potential for very fast growth.
There is no such thing as a true mini pig.