By Sharon Seltzer on Care2.com
The celebrity guests who attended the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday were
given more than the typical designer gifts baskets they receive every year. This
time they were also offered the latest in popular pets - baby teacup pigs.
GBK Productions, the company that ran the gift lounge, handed out specially
designed bags with goodies that were valued at $676.00. They included items such
as Calvin Klein cologne, a custom shirt, DVD’s, designer sunglasses and more.
The company also gave vouchers to each star that could be redeemed for a free
baby pig. They even had a real teacup pig at the gift lounge so celebrities
could get a firsthand experience playing with the cute little animal.
The one caveat to receiving a free piglet was that recipients had to agree to
attend a class on how to care for them.
It sounds like GBK Productions was trying to be responsible with their free
giveaway, but were they actually promoting a fad that will ultimately leave
thousands of pigs abandoned and homeless?
Best Friends Animal Society was furious about the giveaway and issued a press
release to let people know that teacup pigs are nothing more than a myth. They
are actually piglets born to very young pig parents that are not fully grown, in
order to give a false appearance of being smaller than normal. They will
eventually grow up to be normal sized animals.
Yvonne McIntosh who manages Piggy Paradise at Best Friends called the event,
"a disturbing trivialization of intelligent, social pets. And worse, the
celebrity-driven 'teacup pig craze' is based on a myth.”
"I am horrified that anyone would think it is a good idea or even okay in any
way to give away piglets, especially at such a highly publicized event,"
McIntosh continued. "For decades people have bought 'miniature' pigs and then
dumped them once they grew bigger than the promised, mythical 40 pounds. The
resurgence of descriptive names such as 'Teacup', 'Extreme', and 'Micro-mini' is
simply part of a marketing scheme to get people's money in return for a pig that
will never stay as small as promised."
“People who think they are buying a pig that stays small are being fooled.
Unscrupulous breeders are breeding pigs less than a year old, and by the time
the litter is born, the parents are only about eight months old and far below
their full size,” reported McIntosh.
This tricks people into believing their pig will remain small. McIntosh
worries what will happen to the pigs when they reach their adult weight of 150
to 300 pounds.
The current statistics for potbellied pigs show that only two to five percent
of them stay with the original families that adopted them. "The pigs suffer and
end up being dumped and euthanized in our 'disposable' society," McIntosh said.
Some of the lucky ones end up at sanctuaries like Best Friends, PigASus
Sanctuary or Hamalot Pot Bellied Pig Rescue. The latest fad could lead to an
explosion of unwanted pigs. McIntosh compares the trend of the little pig to the
overpopulation of Chihuahua’s now seen in Los Angeles animal shelters.
The public needs to be aware of the myth of this latest craze. Even previous
pig owners are being fooled. Best Friends reported on their website that one
owner contacted them about turning in two potbellied pigs she had for 9 years so
she could buy the new, smaller teacup pig.
Let’s hope most of the celebrities attending the Golden Globe Awards decide not to cash in on their teacup vouchers.