Potbellied and other miniature pigs belong to the family of domestic pig called the Sus Scrofa Domestica. They are often referred to as the “Canadian mini-pig.” The Vietnamese potbellied pig became almost extinct during the WWII famine in China. Some of the refugees brought pigs north with them and then in the 1950’s, some were brought into Europe for zoos. They were systematically bred in Sweden in the mid 1960’s because they created good laboratory size animals with organs and vital functions similar to humans.
Then in the 1970’s, Keith Connell went to Europe to import unique pigs for the Canadian zoos. Then later they came to the United States and became household pets. Because of the strict import laws in the United States, our gene pool for the potbellied pig is still relatively small compared to their cousins the farm hogs. The Vietnamese Potbellied pigs soon became the pet of the 80’s called the Yuppy Puppies.
But with new types of miniature pigs moving in, the prices have been dropping off for the potbellied pig and the focus has changed. Many believe that the era of the pet pig is over, but as we travel around the country, we tend to see a different picture. The potbellied pig may not be as expensive as they started out to be, but still people love pet pigs. Now we are getting quite a variety of miniature pigs in the US and other countries. Chinese Miniatures, South Pacific Nesting Pigs, and Kune Kune to name a few.
Even dogs and cats get dumped, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that there are lots of dog and cat lovers out there. There will always be people who want them until the novelty runs out and then they dump them. The same is true for the mini-pigs. I receive calls and email almost daily from people who are looking into buying and/or adopting a pig. Even teenagers who tell of loving a pig and wanting one when they grow up. I am finding that by not discouraging them, but talking to them and sending them information, many are starting to get educated first. This is the only way to stop the dumping of unwanted pigs – education. No, it won’t solve the problem overnight and yes, there will always be those who dump them, but it is a start in the right direction.
Today many sanctuaries and rescue groups are working to educate the general public to the fact that they do make wonderful pets for the right people, but are not for everyone.
TPPA believes that education is the key and that if we work together with sanctuaries, rescue groups and with the general public, the Vietnamese Potbellied and other miniature pig can still make a wonderful pet.