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Past and Future
Have you ever wondered just what happened in the world of pigs? How on earth did we get from "there" to "here"? Just what changes have occurred through the last ten or twelve years and what was the reason behind them? What is the reason for the people that are still here that were here in the beginning, the ones who just recently became involved with pigs and the ones who are no longer involved with pigs? In other words just what has been the evolution of the pet Potbellied Pig and the people who have them?
One should go back in time and look at the 1989 issues of Pat Hockters "Animal Finders Guide" magazine and the old old issues of the NAPPA newsletters with the commentary by Betty Beaman of the Indiana Registry. Not going back further than ten years ago we were light years away from where we are now.
Ten years ago the Animal Finders Guide was still full of ads for potbellied pigs ranging in price from one thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars. A large decrease from the twenty and thirty thousand dollar ads of just a few years before. The newsletter was full of articles on how to increase numbers of piglets per litter and how to farrow the most live pigs per litter. How to market the pigs and how to control different genetic traits.
Due to the differences in people another National organization was formed called NCOPP, who went on to dominate the show world of pigs. In the 1993 issue of the NAPPA newsletter there were twenty-three clubs listed on the club page, ranging all across the country. Most of the people involved with the clubs were breeders who had a feeling of kinship with fellow members. Again these organizations for the most part were breeders and in that age most articles and activities were grouped around the breeder community.
The shows were dominated by breeders with their breeding stock. The ads were by breeders with breeding stock who would promise you an after life of advice. If you needed help you could call numbers that charged per minute or you could pay to be trained with your pig, or you could buy any number of little books that were becoming obsolete as soon as they were written. The pig was a marketable item and anything that could be sold, was.
Where are we today? Well for the most part the breeders who were in it for the money are gone. There is little market for pigs being bred therefore no reason to breed them. It would seem that the emphasis certainly has shifted from the breeder to the pet owners. Any newsletter you pick up today is geared toward the needs. One would have to think that the people who own them and the people who are left in the pig world are the ones who truly care about the pig.
Since we cannot find homes for all those that need homes, money certainly is not the motive in most cases. We still have some that try to make money even on the homeless, but it is human nature to always have a few of those.
For the most part the pet people of today love their pigs without reservation. They want their pet to be healthy and happy. They have access to help via the Internet and club newsletters. There are organizations put out there just for the pet pig, there is a registry just for pet pigs, there are increasing numbers of pet pig shows.
While numbers of actual clubs has diminished across the country, the clubs that have survived and gone to even bigger and better things are the pet pig clubs. People with their pets can go to pignics, pig circuses, parties, and any number of events that allow for pig people with pets to meet other pig people and their pets. They take their pets to nursing homes, hospitals, to the beach, to their bedrooms.
It is truly the era of the pet pig. There are no lines drawn between pigs that have lineage and pigs that are rescued pigs without written parentage. They are all pet pigs. If you ask the pet people what national organization the belong to, NAPPA or NCOPP, most will look at you in a peculiar manner and say "What is that?" They could care less about that kind of stuff. They just care about the pigs.
The organizations that help these pet owners and let them enjoy their pets will be the ones to survive the next step of the evolution. While some breeders helped create the problem of unwanted pigs, the pet pig owners are dedicated to finding solutions to the problem. They work at placement, funding, foster care, and fight the zoning battles across the country for the pigs. They do battle daily in all manners of ways to assure that the future of the pet pig is safe.
Has this evolution been a good thing or a bad thing? Guess it depends on where you stand. It was an inevitable process that was bound to happen. One feels better knowing that the pet pig has advocates to try and insure its safety, but only the future will tell if they are successful in that endeavor.
We can hope that going into the new millennium with the pet pig will be the beginning of a wonderful age for the pig and those who love them. A time when no pig is homeless, no pig is ever born unwanted, and there is no longer a need for rescue groups or sanctuaries. A tough goal to achieve, but one that the pet pig people are willing to work toward.
by Phyllis Battoe - All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2012