METHUEN, MA — When “Buster” the pig arrived at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen in 2011 as a 75-pound piglet he stole the hearts of staff and volunteers who could not get enough of the beguiling porcine who luxuriated in chin scratches and belly rubs.
At the time Buster was one of the luckiest pigs in the world: a good Samaritan purchased the three-month-old piglet to save him from slaughter. But six years later Buster is still hunkering down at Nevins Farm. And he is a piglet no more.
Now tipping the scales at 900 pounds, Buster has become an unofficial mascot for the organization’s barn program, having charmed thousands of well-wishers and school groups over the years.
The one person Buster has never met? An adopter willing to open their heart and home to the gentle giant.
The MSPCA-Nevins Farm hopes to change that by waiving the $150 adoption fee for all 14 pigs residing on the farm for the entire month to focus attention on the plight of homeless pigs. The staff hope that by doing so Buster—and all other pigs on the farm—will find a permanent home.
Pig Population Explosion
Pigs are smart, inquisitive and friendly animals and that is why so many people wish to keep them as pets. They can even be trained to sit, stay and come when called. But, as Nevins Farm experts point out, they are not for everyone.
“Pigs have become popular for all the wrong reasons,” said Roger Lauze of the MSPCA-Nevins Farm barn program. “Some unscrupulous breeders have marketed pigs as ‘minis’ or ‘teacup’ animals who will stay tiny and happily live indoors and this has caused the population of pet pigs to explode. Some pigs will stay relatively small their entire lives but just as many—even those marketed as ‘minis’—grow so large that they can overwhelm an owner who initially thought they were buying a pet whose needs would be similar to a dog.”
Indoor or Outdoor?
“It’s true that some pigs can live quite happily indoors sharing the rug or the sofa with their family,” continued Lauze. “But it is not true that pigs can live solely indoors. All pigs, no matter their size, need time outside to play and root and explore in the dirt. That behavior is an essential part of a pig’s life and they would be unhappy and unhealthy without it.”
“The ideal home for any of our pigs is one with a large enclosed pen,” said Lauze. Pigs who live primarily outside also need a covered shelter, such as a barn or shed, in which to sleep and take refuge from the elements.”
All adopters with experience keeping pigs, or those with the right kind of home that also includes a sizeable, fenced yard and outdoor shelter, are encouraged to meet the adoptable pigs at the Oct. 29 “Tea with Pigs,” a special open house from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., during which visitors can learn more about the pigs available for adoption and have their questions answered by staff.
More information about the adoptathon can be found HERE.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the MSPCA.)
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