If you are thinking of buying a 'micro pig' as a present, there are a few things you need to know to before you make your purchase.
Although the pig may be purchased as a pet, it must be understood that they are not like dogs and cats – micro pigs are seen in the eyes of the law as livestock, so are subject to the same disease controls and movement regulations as farmed animals.
As there is no such breed as a ‘micro pig’, it is quite possible an animal will continue to grow to a size that can be unmanageable in a domestic situation. A number of owners have been caught out when their ‘micro’ pig has grown into a full-size pig weighing 150-200kg!
Prospective owners of such animals must be aware that they need to register their pet with the Animal Health Agency and then ensure that they meet all the requirements of the laws on disease control, feeding and the movement of animals between different premises.
Micro pig owners will need to obey these laws and abide by the strict rules regulating what the animals can be fed. For example, feeding kitchen scraps to pigs is illegal.
Keeping a pig in domestic surroundings has the potential to expose owners and their families to zoonotic diseases – that is, diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Careful consideration needs to be given to whether a home environment will allow the pig’s needs and welfare to be properly catered for.