Why you can't walk a pig past a burger bar

A pig on a lead

Ah, micropigs. So cute, so tiny, so many adorable social media photos. The perfect pet, right?

Wrong. Anyone who decides to get a micropig in the UK will soon discover that a) there is no such thing as a ‘micropig’ and it will grow surprisingly large, and b) there are many strict rules about pig keeping.

That’s because pigs are classed as farm animals in the UK, not pets. This means all movement must be licensed – even if it is just going for a walk or taking your pig to the vet. The reason is to prevent the spread of disease, but it leads to some interesting laws:

  • You need a licence to take a pig outside your home
  • Pigs can’t eat your leftover food – even if you are vegetarian
  • Pigs need a tattoo or tag
  • You can’t walk a pig past a market for animals, pig farm – or fast food restaurant (why the rules specifically mention a fast food restaurant and not restaurants/cafes in general is not clear, but it is amusing. Is it because they go crazy for chips?)

If you think pigs are being unfairly targeted, you might be reassured to know that owners of goats and sheep also have to follow most of the same rules. Also, many houses (particularly older houses) were built with rules that do not allow the keeping of pigs or livestock on the property.

If none of this has discouraged you from having an unusual pet, you can read more on the main government website.

Image: Terry Wratten/Dreamstime

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