Breeders and rescuers call it the “mini pig craze,” but there’s a problem: People think they’ve adopted mini pigs until those pigs grow up and it’s apparent they’re not so miniature.
Pigs are no longer just farm animals, they are now often members of the family.
“This is Geronimo, he was being sold as a teacup pig,” said Betheny Foster, who created the Hippie Pig Sanctuary with her mom.
Over the last few years, a lot of people have become obsessed with mini pigs after stars like Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus adopted the animals.
“The only way to keep a pig small is to starve it. ‘Micro’ and ‘teacup’ is a marketing term that breeders use to have someone purchase their pig,” said Foster.
Her sanctuary is in Valencia County, and false advertising has caused a huge problem.
“A lot of rescues are drowning with pigs,” she said.
Foster and her mom are now caring for 45 pigs. They try to take in ones that were abused, poorly bred, or starving.
“Chance was actually found at the Bernalillo Feed Store. Every bone in his body was showing,” she said about one of the pigs.
They attribute a majority of the influx in pigs at shelters and rescues across the country to breeders lying about the size a pig will get.
“Nobody actually realizes that pigs grow, no one wants to tell the truth, they all want the money,” said Foster.
So KRQE News 13 asked a breeder who sells mini pigs how big their pigs will really be.
“Average for most mini pigs is gonna be between 50 to 150 pounds, which isn’t a little tiny pig,” said Patrick Milligan of Milligan Ranch.
Milligan and his wife Toya run a ranch in Edgewood. They say pigs don’t stop growing until they’re five years old. They also invite people interested in adoption out to their property.
“Do a site visit, see the parents, how big that they’re gonna be,” said Milligan.
The couple says they too have rescued pigs, and hope people do their homework before bringing one home.
“Do your research, know what you’re getting yourself into,” said Foster.
The Hippie Pig Sanctuary does adopt out pigs. They say they put adoptees through a lengthy process to ensure the pigs are going to a good home.