Hundreds of ‘micro-pigs’, made popular by celebrities such as Miley
Cyrus and Tom Daley, have been shot by marksmen after running wild in a
More than 300 of the tiny pigs were discovered by stunned farmers on common moorland in Gower, West Wales.
It is believed that they broke free from captivity, before becoming ‘out
of control’ as they rampaged through the countryside and mated with
Micro-pigs became popular pets after several celebrities were pictured cradling them (above, Miley Cyrus)
The cull was ordered by the local council – who claim they did so to
protect the public from the seemingly harmless Kunekune pigs.
Acouncil official said that they had arranged for a slaughter-man to
carry out a ‘humane cull’ of 106 of the animals in the past week.
A spokesman said: ‘We made several inquiries to identify ownership of the
animals but no-one came forward to accept responsibility for them.
‘These animals presented a serious risk to other livestock in the region in
the event of a disease outbreak and because of this we were left with no
option but to carry out a cull of these animals.
‘This was carried out by a licensed professional and with full support of local farmers in the area.’
The animals, native to New Zealand, begin life no bigger than a tea cup.
Tom Daley (above) gets in on the action as he poses for a photo with an adorable micro-piglet
A few years ago they became fashionable as celebrity pets – with Victoria
Beckham buying husband, David, two for Christmas in 2009.
American heiress Paris Hilton and Welsh singer Charlotte Church were also seen
with micro-pigs, leading to a surge in pet pigs around the country.
However, their popularity soon waned, with many unwitting owners getting rid of
the animals after discovering that they grow to five foot long and three
Poppy Delevingne, sister of catwalk model Cara, holds a micro-piglet up to the camera
This has led to rescue centres becoming overwhelmed with unwanted micro-pigs.
Karen McKay from the British Kunekune Pig Society blamed the situation on
breeders cashing in on the rise of the popularity of the micro-pig as an urban pet.
She said: ‘Owners buying these pigs on a whim were left taking on far more than they realised.
‘They bought them as cute piglets not realising or being told by breeders how big they would become.
The popularity of the animals waned when people realised how big they grow to (above, Kendall Jenner)
‘They can be expensive to keep and they require up to half an acre of fenced in land or more to roam around in.
‘Now that the fad for them has faded, rescue centres are loathe to take on even more of them.
‘And as sad as it is to hear that these pigs and piglets have been shot, it
would have been worse for them to have been kept without welfare in
‘There is also a risk of diseases such as foot and mouth or
swine flu spreading if you have wild and uncontrolled pigs going through
American heiress Paris Hilton (pictured above) also got in on the micro-pig trend
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