Ystalyfera pig1THE RSPCA is issuing a reminder to people that pigs are not suitable as pets.

A male micro-pig was found in Ystalyfera in a garden on Wern Road on 12 January.

RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “He is a very small breed but his exact breed is unknown at this point.

“We think he one of the first victims of the ‘buying pets as a Christmas present’ issue.

“He is currently being looked after by a vet – but this is only a short term thing.

“He is very lonely and keeps trying to break into the sheep pen for company but as he is so small we are worried he may get trampled on.

“He is now looking for his forever home on a smallholding or farm.”

The RSPCA advises that pigs are not suitable as pets, due to their very specific needs.

Micro- and mini-pigs appear to becoming increasingly popular and are often advertised as cute pets that are easy to look after. However, the RSPCA is very concerned about their suitability as pets.

Micro- and mini-pigs have very specific welfare needs that must be met to keep them happy and healthy. For example, all pigs have a strong desire to root, which means they need continual access to suitable areas for rooting, otherwise they can become destructive.

Being small may make it difficult for micro- and mini- pigs 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 negative behaviours, such as stereotypic behaviour (behaviours that are repeated without an obvious
purpose). Ystalyfera pig2

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.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, 2006, pet owners are legally required to meet the needs of their animals. Due to their complex needs, the RSPCA is concerned about how well micro- and mini-pigs can be cared for by non-specialist keepers.

Before getting any pigs it is important you consider if you have the time, resources, commitment, knowledge and facilities to care for them.

Whilst piglets may look cute, even miniature breeds (for example the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig) soon grow up to weigh 35 to 70 kilogrammes (over 150 kilogrammes if overfed). Other breeds will grow as large as a commercially farmed pig i.e. 200 to 300 kilogrammes, sometimes more.

Whilst some pigs have a very good temperament others should be handled with care.

For more information visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/farm/farmanimals/pigs

Whether you keep one pig as a pet or a commercial herd you need to follow certain rules regarding the identification of your animal. The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) (Wales) Order (PRIMO) legislation changed on 25 November 2011.

Anyone who may have information about this pig should contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.