Submitted by GSPCA on 22:16, 23rd Jan, 2012 | 0

 The GSPCA is becoming increasingly concerned about the number of ‘pet’ pigs that are being brought into Guernsey. These so called ‘Micro’ or ‘Mini’ pigs are often advertised as cute little pets that are easy to look after. Sadly however they have very specific welfare needs and as such their suitability as household pets must come into question. Celebrities such as David Beckham, Paris Hilton and Katie Price have all received these animals as presents and they have now become a much desired fashion accessory.

Micro pigs are not ‘commercial’ animals bred for meat but have instead been ‘designed’ to look cute. The piglets are a cross between the Miniature Pot bellied pigs and Gloucester Old Spot pigs and are the product of selective breeding. This means that they are bred generation by generation, selecting the smallest each time. This process often involves inbreeding, which has associated welfare problems including increased risk of deformities and decreased fertility.

Inexperienced keepers of these pigs could be putting their own health and the health of other livestock animals on Guernsey at risk as the pigs are susceptible to a number of highly contagious diseases. Pigs can carry infections which can be passed to people such as salmonella, campylobacter which cause stomach upsets with potentially serious complications and Streptococcus suis which can cause meningitis, and they are also potent excreators of the foot and mouth disease virus. The importation and careless management and breeding of these pigs could have a devastating effect on the Island’s established herds of pigs, cattle and the Island’s sheep and goats.

In order to reduce the spread of diseases, such as foot and mouth, UK owners of micro pigs are required to adhere to very strict regulations regarding their movements and even have to apply for licences to walk them to ensure that they do not come into contact directly or indirectly with other livestock animals. The pigs must be registered, identifiable and licences must be obtained before they can be moved from one location to another so that they can be tracked. All of these measures are vital to effective disease control as the animals can be located and protected in the event of an outbreak of a disease. It also means that information regarding an outbreak can be relayed to the keeper as soon as possible.

Currently there are no laws in Guernsey preventing the owners of micro pigs from moving them around the Island whether or walks or to new homes and there are no measures in place to prevent them coming into contact with other livestock animals. There is also no system set up to identify each individual animal or track its movements. It is concerning that an Island with such an important farming community currently does not have the same biosecurity measures to manage mirco-pigs as the UK.

The GSPCA strongly urges people not to purchase a ‘micro’ pig as a pet and would ask that if people are contemplating buying one that they consider the following:

  • Micro pigs often exceed the 16 inches the breeder informs the owner they will reach by nearly double and some have grown into full size pigs weighing between 150 – 200kg.
  • Micro pigs require a lot of time and dedication to meet their needs.
  • Owners will need access to expert veterinary care and the ability to pay for it.
  • As with all pigs these micro pigs will have a strong desire to root, which means they need continual access to suitable areas for rooting, otherwise they can become destructive and will turn a loved green lawn into a muddy patch in no time at all.
  • Pigs need to keep warm, so they must always have access to a suitable shelter that includes a comfortable, dry lying area and appropriate bedding.
  • Without a stimulating environment, micro- and mini-pigs are highly likely to show stereotypic behaviour in attempt to deal with their mental distress.
  • Micro- and mini-pigs need to be housed in social groups with other friendly, similar-sized pigs, not only because they are social herd animals but also because they can become aggressive to their owners if housed alone.
  • It is ILLEGAL to feed your pig or allow your pig access to any waste food, kitchen scraps or food that has come from a domestic or commercial kitchen.


The GSPCA believes that no animal should be bought on a whim and certainly no animal should be bred primarily for how he/she looks. The worry for the Animal Shelter is that when the novelty has worn off and the not so pint sized pig has attacked the family dog and dug up the garden people will abandon these animals and they will no doubt end up having to be euthanised.


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