Consider Adopting One of These Pet Pigs Instead of Buying One

Too many people buy pot bellied pigs as pets and then abandon them to any place that will take them because the pig ends up larger than expected or not the sweet, cuddly, easy going animal the owner expects.

The number is, without a doubt, out of control.

National Geographic claims that since 1998, the number of “mini-pigs” in the United States and Canada has risen from 200,000 to perhaps as many as a million.

But as pot bellied pig information center Pigs 4 Ever explains, “every year hundreds, if not thousands, of pot bellied pigs are abandoned, ‘thrown away’, or die due to lack of information and knowledge.”

Remember Esther the Wonder Pig, whose family started an animal sanctuary earlier this year? They get requests from owners looking to surrender their pig every week like clockwork, and that’s just one sanctuary.

The sad likelihood is, there are way more surrendered pet pigs than there are sanctuaries with room enough to take them.

National Geographic explains, “When pint-size pigs grow bigger than promised, they wind up euthanized or in overburdened shelters.” Rich Hoyle, a 20-year sanctuary veteran who founded The Pig Preserve in Jamestown, Tenn., says “Probably 90 percent of the so-called micro pigs will either be dead or in a sanctuary before they are two years old.”

Some owners underfeed their pet pigs in an effort to keep them small, which of course, does not work, and inbreeding-related health issues are common as well.

Earlier this year we told you about one sickly pig named Jack Frost, who was abandoned in Ontario. Having a pet pig proved too big of a responsibility for Jack’s owner, so the unwanted pig was abandoned, and in poor shape.

Esther’s people plead, “We can’t keep up. What on earth is going to happen to all these pigs? No one, regardless of time or money, can keep up.”

What gets my blood boiling is the term “Teacup Pig.” Using “teacup” and “pig” in the same sentence makes no sense. The average teacup is approximately two inches in height.

Just imagine a pig that’s two inches tall. Seriously?!

Sure, there are a miniscule number of pet pigs that remain small once their four years of growing comes to an end, but it’s rare, and as Esther’s folks point out, small is relative: “The smallest I have seen fully grown is 40 pounds. That is so rare. Count on anywhere from 80-180.” Plus, a 40 pound pig is not the same as having a 40 pound dog:

“Even a 40 or 60 pound pig is not like having the equivalent sized dog. Pigs are strong, with dense bodies, and you can’t just pick them up and move them, it’s like trying to pick up a baby tiger. A 40 pound animal with an attitude is a handful.”

So here we are, with way more surrendered pet pigs than there are sanctuaries to take them. So what’s a person to do?

If you are a pig lover like me, the best thing you can do once the urge to own a cute cuddly pig strikes you is: your homework. I usually re-read A Must Read Before Adopting a Pet Pig, the urge inevitably passes, and I revel in the myriad of other ways I can enjoy pigs in my life without bringing one into my ill-suited home.

If you’re going to get a pig, consider adoption

If you long to be a pet pig owner who has done all your homework and still believe you can offer a pig a suitable home, instead of buying a pig, consider rescuing one, because there are so many in need of a proper forever home.

Pigs 4 Ever provides this list of sanctuaries and rescue centers in the U.S. and Canada that adopt out pigs, and Pig Placement Network is a fostering and adoption service that lists pigs up for adoption on their website.

Here are a few cuties up for adoption right now that caught my eye:

Fred. Photo Credit: Pig Placement Network

“Fred” Photo Credit: Pig Placement Network

"George" Photo Credit: Pig Placement Network

“George” Photo Credit: Pig Placement Network

"Gus" Photo Credit: Pig Placement Network

“Gus” Photo Credit: Pig Placement Network

Remember, for anyone contemplating pot bellied pig ownership, whether you buy or adopt a pig, for the pig’s sake as well as your own, please do due diligence and read A Must Read Before Adopting a Pet Pig first. Then read it again.

Its author (and friend of Esther the Wonder Pig) Sherry Burnett cautions, “If you are thinking of getting a pig, commit to their lifetime. If you get a baby, you are looking at 15-20 years caring for that pig.” She adds, “Please, please think long and hard before getting a pig. Unless you live in an apartment, then don’t think about it at all.”

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

69 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

Always adopt, never buy!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Thanks for posting.

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Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thank you

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

That's what happens when fashion influences pet selection. Oh and breeders jumping on the bandwagon too.

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago

Thank you

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Guy Incognito
Guy Incognito3 years ago

You're kidding right? Why are places like Esther even quoted in this story???? They absolutely refuse to take in ANY potbellied pigs despite the great need for shelter for them because it probably doesn't fit well with their overall farm plan or something like that. You might want to get quotes from people who are ACTUALLY helping find these pigs homes.

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Ron C.
Ron C3 years ago

I suspect most of the people who got a pot bellied pig were animal lovers with a healthy tinge of lack of common sense and practicality. It must have been tough on them to realize they could not care for their pets. Pet ownership causes so much suffering for animals, and that includes cats and dogs.

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Sherri S.
Sherri S3 years ago

Too many stupid, selfish and irresponsible breeders and ignorant, uneducated owners are a bad mix. This is why so many animals are homeless. Unfortunately, it must be even more difficult for pigs to find a good home as they are unique and definitely require more specialized care. I sincerely hope these piggies and many others are able to find a good home, with owners that love them and understand their needs.

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Pamela A.
Pamela A3 years ago

thanks for article
makes me sad everytime I hear stories like this.
Thanx for article

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