Genetic engineering has been responsible for hundreds of unique plants, flowers, and even animals in recent years. Some specially engineered hybrids are beautiful, some are fascinating, and some are just plain bizarre. That is the word often used when discussing the latest British fad in genetically engineered family pets―micro-piglets.
Pot Bellied Pigs were all the rage a few years ago, but the thrill faded and people realized that they are just a small breed of pigs, and they eventually grow to be the size of a St. Bernard, with a huge belly (hence the name). But micro-piglets are specifically bred to remain as tiny as possible throughout their entire lives. They are incredibly cute, extremely intelligent, and have a sweet disposition that endears them to everyone who sees them. They can live as long as 18 years.
Micro-piglets only grow to about 14" tall as adults, similar to a medium-sized dog. They are very clean, easily house-trained, and love being held and petted. Jane Croft, a breeder of micro-piglets, says that micro-piglets will even 'talk' to their owners (in Pig Latin?) and sit on their laps while they watch TV. Because their genetic makeup is combined by a mixture of several different breeds of pigs, they are usually less bothersome for people with allergies, who might not be able to own a dog. They can also be trained to use a litter box.
Croft, one of the few breeders of micro-piglets, owns Little Pig Farm and is the founder of the British Micro-Pig Club. She says that her standards for maintaining the health and welfare of her little porkers are extremely high, and she and her staff love and care for every single pig. The piglets are not sold in the United States, and she sells them only in pairs, and only to owners who have been carefully investigated and determined to be a good placement. The micro-piglets are given clean bedding every few days, the highest quality food, toys, and blankets, regular medical check-ups, and the staff play and cuddle with them every day. They even have classical music piped into their bedrooms. Croft says that her piggies are extremely intelligent and social animals, who adore contact with humans and other animals.
There is usually a waiting list, because of their increasing popularity and the small number of breeders offering them. To own a micro-piglet, potential owners much obtain a County Parish Holding Number from the Rural Payments Agency, and must prove that they have sufficient outside area and housing for them. Micro-piglets can be kept as house pets, but because they are very sociable, they have a tendency to become destructive if they are left alone for too long. For that reason, Croft advises that owners should give the pigs plenty of attention, and access to both inside and outside areas.
For a unique pet who will bond with your entire family and other pets, consider a micro-piglet! To find a list of approved micro-piglet breeders, visit the British Micro-Pig Club website.