Pet trends come and go in Taiwan.
Model Lin Chih-ling's (
A pet owner, surnamed Tang who has cared for two miniature pigs for the past three years, extolled their virtues.
PHOTO: TSAN CHAO-YANG, TAIPEI TIMES
"They're clean, they don't smell like dogs, they don't bark like dogs, and they're very affect-ionate," Tang told the Taipei Times.
However, there are many potential pitfalls in store for the would-be miniature pig owner -- buying a pig should not be a decision entered into lightly.
English Teacher Peter Dearman was on his way to a convenience store in Tianmu when he was struck by an usual sight -- a tiny striped porcine creature stranded in the traffic.
After chasing the little pig down, Dearman's students named her "Heather," and he entrusted her to the care of Animals Taiwan, making her the animal welfare organization's first porcine rescue.
Animals Taiwan was founded a year ago by Sean McCormack, who resides in Taipei. The animal-rights group advocates "no killing," which means that no animals are euthanized unless they are suffering or terminally ill.
McCormack and his team has put up posters of "Heather" in the hope that her real owners will come forward. However, he conceded that Heather had probably been abandoned by owners who realized that she was not a true miniature pig, but rather a very young female formosan wild boar that will grow to more than 120kg.
"Look at her, it's like she's wearing little high heels," McCormack said .
Indeed, Heather was skittering around the yard on her slim trotters, sniffing, with surprising delicacy.
She is about the size of a sturdy, barrel-shaped York-shire Terrier right now.
"She loves to sniffle and roll in my clothes. She went missing for a while and I found her hiding ... she had buried herself in my laundry," McCormack said.
McCormack is adamant that he would not let Heather be sold for meat.
"It's not an option. I'm not against eating meat per se, but once an animal comes into our care, they're safe," he said, adding that Heather is still looking for a home.
Liu Yin-Cheng (
"I saw a lot of cases of unscrupulous pet dealers passing off ordinary baby pigs as miniature pigs a few years ago, but demand [for miniature pet pigs] has been catching up with supply recently," Liu said.
Liu quotes a reasonable price for a true miniature pig from a reputable dealer at around NT$10,000 to NT$ 20,000, depending on condition and lineage.
Liu also scoffed at the myth that one can keep pigs petite by feeding them less.
"The pig's eventual size is determined by genetics," Liu said. "You can't keep it small by starving it."
Liu warned against unreasonable expectations that a miniature pig will stay a piglet forever.
"I've seen mature minipigs ranging from 30kg to 50kg," he said.
"If you're still wondering whether a pig is right for you, don't have one," advised a former miniature pig owner, who wished to remain unidentified.
"It's just like having a child around all the time. They're smarter than dogs, and more demanding," the former hog owner said.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by