Why You Need To Be Really Sure Before Getting A ‘Teacup’ Pig
The micro-mini pig craze has exploded over the past few years. “There really is no such thing as a teacup pig, micro-mini, Juliana, etc.,” she tells The Dodo. “Miniature pigs are mini compared to a domestic farm pig that can reach 600-plus pounds. So-called teacups are actually potbellied pigs who are either underfed to stunt their growth or who are sold under false pretenses.” Breeders often instruct buyers to feed their pig a diet that amounts to starvation. Susko says her sanctuary takes in numerous pigs turned in by people who said they “Were told by the breeder that the pig will only get big if you feed him too much. Many pigs come in malnourished and emaciated. Underfed pigs also suffer from weak immune systems, sensitive skin and hoof problems.” Indeed, underfed pigs – like too-little Wilburt here – tend to come with a host of health problems caused by malnutrition. Potbellied pigs need other piggy friends and lots of space to roam – otherwise they can become depressed or angry. Pigs simply being pigs is oftentimes enough of a reason for teacup pig owners to abandon their pigs or surrender them to sanctuaries like Best Friends Animal Society or Pig Placement Network. Between her former job as an animal control officer, her current position at HSUS and her active volunteer work at PIGS Sanctuary, Reever says she has “Seen firsthand countless pigs that were surrendered to shelters, rescues, and dumped because the ‘teacup’ pig grew to 100-plus pounds.” Reever shares her home with two such rescues from PIGS Sanctuary – Annabelle and Arnold – and she “Can attest to how smart they are, how closely they bond to their families and the specialized care they require.” Because customers expect these piglets to stay tiny, they can’t possibly imagine the mountainous costs associated with keeping a fully grown potbellied pig. As Susko puts it, “Many people think they are buying a teacup Yorkie and end up with a Saint Bernard. Not many people can handle a 100-, 200- or even 300-pound pig in their house.” There’s the initial price of the pig, which may be several thousand dollars, the proper food, the space needed, the vet bills, sterilization costs and the expenses for a qualified pig-sitter if the humans go out of town and don’t take their pal along. No matter what teacup pig purchasers may think or how small their pig may be, in the eyes of the law, these little pigs are livestock – just like farm pigs or cows. The prevalence of misinformation about the care of these complex creatures means that most teacup pigs live only about five years, even though “The average life expectancy for a potbellied pig is 12 to 18 years,” according to Susko. “We get an average of 30 requests a week to take in pigs that people have purchased under the assumption that they will be micro or teacup pigs. When the pigs start growing, they call us. We have 120 potbelly pigs here at PIGS and 85 percent of them have been pigs that people bought without doing their research and fell for the teacup pig myth.” Instead of an actual pig, why not gift a pig sponsorship? There are also plenty of opportunities to donate to shelters that provide the proper care for abandoned or surrendered pigs.
Pig’s Feet with Ginger & Vinegar
As Britain’s spending on cosmetic surgery soars, Fiona MacDonald Smith suggests it’s time that we chopped and changed our diet instead. Pigs’ trotters are the latest anti-ageing food? That’s right, you heard it here first. In New York, the most talked-about new opening of the past couple of months has been a Japanese restaurant called Hakata Tonton, where 33 out of the 39 dishes contain pigs’ feet. The reason for this, according to its owner, Himi Okajima, is that they are rich in collagen, the protein responsible for skin and muscle tone, more recognizable to beauty addicts in the form of face creams and fillers. “Collagen helps your body retain moisture,” says Okajima, who has introduced a chain of restaurants specializing in collagen cuisine in Japan. “Your hair and skin will look better, but it’s not just for looking beautiful now. If you begin eating collagen in your thirties, you will look younger in your forties.” Figures published last month show that British spending on cosmetic surgery is the highest in Europe , hitting nearly 500 million in 2006, four times more than in 2001. “Isn’t there a cheaper solution? Couldn’t eating the right foods, in the right way, be a simpler, and ultimately more long-term way to stay looking and feeling younger?”You are what you eat,” says nutritional therapist Ian Marber, aka The Food Doctor. For this you need to eat fruit and vegetables, which contain vital anti-oxidants like vitamins A, C, E and zinc. “Have you ever noticed how women age more rapidly than men? That’s because they don’t eat enough protein. The days you don’t eat protein are the days you age. The body can’t store protein, but it needs it for cellular production and function.” “At each meal you should be able to hold up three fingers and say ‘I’ve got a good source of protein; an essential fatty acid and a low glycaemic carbohydrate’. If you can say that, you’re on the right road.”. Perricone, a dermatologist, became America’s most famous anti-ageing specialist with his “Three-Day Nutritional Face Lift”, which extolled the virtues of eating wild Alaskan salmon twice a day, claiming its essential fatty acids would banish puffiness and tighten the skin. “In his new book Ageless Face, Ageless Mind, which has yet to reach the UK, Dr Perricone’s team assert that up to 40 per cent of wrinkles are caused by dietary sugar.”When you eat high glycaemic carbohydrates like bread, cakes and pasta, they turn into sugar in the blood so fast that the pancreas can’t respond with enough insulin and the blood becomes saturated with sugar,” argues Christian Lee. “The sugar needs to go somewhere so it attaches itself to the cell membranes. “When it does this to collagen molecules in the skin, it causes the collagen to become stiff and immobile and that’s the birth of the wrinkle. The bad news is that it doesn’t end there – the sugar then pumps out free radicals, causing a double whammy of damage. The good news is you can prevent it – either by cutting out sugar or by taking a supplement of alpha lipoid acid, which is 400 times stronger than vitamin C and E combined.” So ditch the sugar, but don’t forget the pigs’ trotters.