Breeders…From a Rescuer

By Michelle (Hedy) Nobil

Many are asking about breeders and why so many potbellied and other miniature pigs get dumped. Within are some of my thoughts on it.

Breeders would not breed so much if they took back all the pigs they sold that are rescued, re-homed, euthanized, or put into sanctuaries. The size of a pig is not always the reason, nor is it the major reason pigs end up in sanctuaries. Size never matters with cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, ducks, snakes, etc. that end up being turned into humane societies, animal control, or dumped on the side of the road, etc.

People move, divorce, lose jobs, and the novelty of the pet wears off. Kids move out and do not take their pets. Know what? Life happens.

Many are given up because of zoning issues. Yes, size sometimes matters. Many zoning codes require that the pig remain small. Some say that if pigs were kept small they would be kept for life. That is just not so. Breeders often don’t tell the truth. When the pig gets large, they are then banned. However, it is not the main reason …there are many small pigs in sanctuaries that were once household pets. If it were the case, why are so many Chihuahuas, Min-Pins, etc. ending up in shelters as well? They are small and remain small, as are little terriers, poodles, and cats.

If pigs were to stay really small, it would only mean more backyard breeders trying for an even faster buck. When I say breeders lie, I was not making that statement merely about them stating the pigs will remain small. Backyard breeders do that…they lie for their own benefit, not the pig’s. I would hope the so-called “good breeders” would never do that, but they are few and far between. I would also hope the people buying from any breeder would be educated enough to be sure they saw the parents, and knew the age of the parents before buying the offspring. Even that doesn’t ensure they stay small.

If breeders took back and cared for all the unwanted pigs, they would be a sanctuary themselves, and they would quit breeding. I have met breeders I like as individual people. They are caring, wonderful folks, and very nice as humans. I have nothing against them as human beings. That being said, I don’t like or agree with what they do. They do what they do for whatever reason they have to in order to make money. They need to stop breeding and selling…they need to allow us time to get the number of pigs in sanctuaries down by finding homes for those still waiting. The sanctuaries are full. There are not enough others waiting in the wings to help out.

The number of people who want, and are physically and financially able to have/run sanctuaries are not expanding as fast as the numbers of pigs who need homes.

People tell us to look at the humane societies. Well, let’s look. They have free or low cost clinics to spay and neuter. Even so, how many millions of cats, dogs and birds are murdered each year because people keep breeding? These animals are not always mixed breeds. Look at the Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Dobies, Danes, Terriers, Labs, etc. are in shelters. Look at all the rescues for the most well known breeds of cat ….Persians, Siamese, etc. Take a trip to, or any animal web site or message board, and look at how many dog rescues for popular breeds there are ….rescue groups who can’t take on any more because they are full. Ask some of those rescue people what their feelings are on breeders.
his is happening with the potbelly pig, too. Instead of going to sanctuaries, hundreds will be murdered. Why? Because the sanctuaries are full of well-bred pigs from well-known breeders who do not take the responsibility for the pigs they bring into the world. They do not take them back and care for them when they are no longer wanted. How sad will you breeder supporters feel then? Will you step up and start a sanctuary and fill it with over 200 potbellies? No? Why not? Oh, I see…you just wanted a cute pig for a pet. Well, what happens if you get sick, your spouse dies, or your house burns down and you have to move? Think about where your pets will go. All the sanctuaries are operating at capacity. I think about it a lot, and it scares me.

Now look at the age of the sanctuary owners …their health, their financial problems. The owners of today are wonderful people and do incredible things, but what happens when they are gone? No one lives forever…will you step up and fill their shoes?

The more I type, the angrier I become, and I’m probably irritating all of you, and I don’t want to do that. I just want you to think. I do understand the wanting of a pet pig who remains small and cute. Heck, if humans remained small and cute maybe I would have some running around here, too. I also understand wanting a pig well bred, but it is time to look forward into the future. Look where these poor animals could be headed perhaps five to ten years from now if we don’t take a stand now. These animals cannot defend themselves, and if we don’t do it, who will?

Ask the sanctuary owners how small they started. One sanctuary nearby has added a barn and about 20 pens in the past two years. Why? Sanctuaries are full…full to capacity, and money is scarce, while breeders and their supporters take vacations and have fancy cars and nice dinners out on the town. Sanctuary owners go without most of those material things, and sometimes even necessities to care for the hundreds of unwanted pet pigs that irresponsible, money-grubbing breeders have produced.

Visit a sanctuary. Spend a day working in any sanctuary and see what sacrifices are made and how hard the work is …especially so, since most already have a regular job just to pay for the needs of their sanctuary which is already filled with unwanted pet pigs of all sizes, colors, and reasons for being there. People who have not actually been to a sanctuary, helped, or sat on a board of directors realizing the financial burdens will never grasp what is really happening while the breeding still continues.

There are too many helpless pigs needing love, and not enough homes to provide it. It is even sadder that most people don’t give a rat’s butt. Just stop the breeding…just stop it, PLEASE. There is no good reason for breeding.

OH, YES, I FORGET…WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE REAL POTBELLY PIG DOESN’T DIE OUT. (Tongue in cheek statement about those sending pigs to Asian Countries thinking they are saving the breed.)