Tuesday, 5 March 2013


This is the news article chosen for the InDesign Brief, which can be found with development on my Design Practice blog;

Miniature pigs not just for Christmas

MINIATURE pigs that are so small they can fit into a tea-cup need expert attention and must not be bought on a whim, animal welfare experts have warned this Christmas.
Micro-pigs, made famous by celebrity owners such as Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham, Gavin Henson and Charlotte Church, are swift becoming the Christmas ‘must-have’ presents.
But on the day Paris Hilton admitted that her micro-pig often ‘shares a bed’ with her and her boyfriend, Animal Health, the government agency responsible for the health and welfare of agricultural animals, urged caution.
Dr Nick Coulson, from Animal Health, said he wanted potential owners to be aware of the responsibilities and workload involved in keeping micro pigs before they purchased one.
“Despite their small size these animals can require a great deal of time, commitment and space if they are to thrive, and potential owners need to give these requirements - and their ability to meet them - careful thought.
“We also want to ensure that they fully consider the legal requirements they will have to meet if they decide to buy a micro pig.
“Though these animals are typically bought to be kept as pets, in the eyes of the law they remain agricultural animals. This means that they are subject to exactly the same disease controls and regulations as pigs kept in commercial livestock herds.
“Potential buyers need to understand the full implications of keeping pet pigs, or they could fall foul of the law and put other livestock animals at risk by unwittingly helping the spread of serious animal diseases,” he said.
Micro-pig owners must act like any other livestock owner, continued Dr Coulson.
They must register their pet with Animal Health and comply with other measures to control the spread of highly contagious animal viruses, such as swine fever and foot and mouth disease.
They also need to obey laws governing the movement of pigs between premises, and abide by strict rules regulating what the creatures can be fed. Feeding kitchen scraps to pigs is illegal, for example.
Chris Murray is a micro-pig breeder in Devon. He is currently attempting to grow the smallest pig in Europe – it has taken him 17 years and 36 generations to develop his latest Pennywell miniature pig.
He sells the pigs as pets but says all potential buyers are checked before they are allowed to take the pig away.
“We have an enormous waiting list but I vet every potential buyer to ensure the pigs have outdoor space, shelter and will be looked after properly,” he said.
Source: farmersguardian