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Laws on keeping pigs as pets

pig lying down in indoor pigsty © RSPCA

There are strict laws covering the keeping, identification and transport of farm animal species, including those kept as pets. To start with, there's the Animal Welfare Act (2006), which says that anyone responsible for an animal has a legal responsibility to meet the five basic welfare needs of their animals.

These are:

  • A proper diet
  • Somewhere suitable to live
  • Any need to be housed with or apart from other animals
  • Being allowed to express normal behaviour
  • Protection from and treatment of, illness and injury

Because pigs are farm animals, you'll need to comply with extra laws if you want to keep them.

Moving a pig from one place to another

By law, you'll need a licence to move pigs to other premises (except if they're going to a slaughterhouse), and this includes pet pigs being moved to the vet's surgery. You then won't be able to move them again for at least 20 days.

An exception does apply for exercising pet pigs, but you'll need to apply for a licence from your local Animal Health Office Veterinary Officer and meet certain other requirements.

Transporting a pig

It's illegal to transport pet pigs in any vehicle that hasn't been properly constructed to carry them, and this includes a car. You must transport pigs in compliance with the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 2006.

Contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for further information and read for more advice on caring for pet pigs.

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