By: Lana Hollenback
As a rescuer/sanctuary owner, we all push for and encourage spaying and neutering. Most of us
when first starting out or so learned the valuable lesson when we bring in a intact boar even for a
day or two until we can get it to a veterinarian. Then 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days later we have
babies. More mouths to feed or more home to find. We preach to the public all the time on
getting it done. Some listen and some think we are just being obnoxious. What they don’t
understand is the bigger picture.
It’s not always the fact of more babies; more mouths to feed; more homes to find. It is a health
issue for both the female and the male. The average cost of neutering a young male is about one
hundred ($100.00) dollars and that cost goes up as the male ages and grows. Can range as high as
three hundred ($300.00) for just one adult male. Female pigs are always higher in cost. When
spayed at 20 pounds the average cost is one hundred and fifty ($150.00 to two hundred ($200.00)
and the cost keeps going up to five or six hundred dollars when they have matured and weigh a
whole lot more. So cost is less when young compared to when they have aged. But some still
continue to put it off or don’t do it all. Some will argue there is no reason to and that you just
have to learn to deal with the pig cycling every 21 days for approximately 4 days. So the female
pig goes unspayed and remains intact.
These costs can be staggering when they get larger then expected and you don’t have the funds to
cover the spay. Think of the rescues and sanctuaries that work over time just trying to raise the
funds to get done what you should have done a few years ago. But hey, not your problem
But here is what you don’t think about with that cute little cuddly piglet that you bought and
brought home. Males can develop infections, that if left untreated, can develop into testicle
cancer. Can cost him a very painful death if not caught in time. And we won’t even go into the
cost of saving that male. The one you finally dumped into a rescue/sanctuary because you
couldn’t deal with him any more.
Then comes the female who around the age of six years old (and remember they can live to be
over 20 years old if healthy) they begin to develop infections, pyometras, cysts, tumors and
eventually cancer. And the cost for surgery is to the moon and back. Here is just one surgery we
have sat through.
So do we have a reason more then babies to preach spay and neutering of all pet pigs. We know we do.
We have had breeders tell us how good they are because they neuter all males that they sell. Well
unless a person is paying a whole lot more and getting a breeding pair. But they still swear they
are good breeders. But lets look at this. Is the reason they neuter because they want to be “good
breeders”. We think this doesn’t work and here is our reason.
They don’t want you getting a pair of pet pigs and then start breeding them and selling them as it
cuts into their profits. They don’t really care about the pig. Want to know why we believe that.
What they don’t tell you is how many of their piglets die because of over breeding the sow or
breeding to close to the last litter and her body is tired. This doesn’t even mention the ones that
die because of the line-breeding (inbreeding). They don’t tell you about their pigs that gets
dumped into rescues and / or sanctuaries because they could care less. They don’t keep tract of
them and they don’t take them back but yet when that sow comes into heat they quickly breed her
They talk a good talk but they don’t walk the walk. They want you to buy into their philosophy so
they can keep breeding while we all know pigs are dying; being dumped; shot at and killed; turned
into Animal Controls and last, a few rescues working to find a few homes while sanctuaries are
bursting at the seams. Sorry, We don’t buy into it. But until you, the buyer, wakes up and sees for
yourself, our work will always go unfinished.
What can you do? You can encourage people to adopt and not buy. You can volunteer to foster or
work at a sanctuary. You can help spread the word and help share the load. You can love the pig
enough to really care about him. Wake up….Save a pig-don’t breed or encourage breeding.