In Taipei last week, the city's main zoo was declared closed for 12 days because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease on Taiwan's pig farms. "We are not protecting the people from the animals," a spokesman explained. "Rather, we are protecting the animals from the people. Humans cannot become ill from foot-and-mouth disease but can easily spread the virus, especially to cloven-hoofed animals."

In Weatherford, Oklahoma, last month Imogene Barnhart won the 10th Annual World Championship Hog Calling Contest. "I'm a champion hog-caller and husband-caller," she explained. "I've had three."

In Banbury, England, Frankie the pot-bellied pig became the first of her species to be given a face-lift. The rolls of fat around her eyelids had obscured her vision so much that she went around bumping into things. The snip cost pounds 130.

In Manganeses de la Polvorosa, a village in Spain, the mayor defended the carnival practice of throwing a goat from the church bell-tower, saying: "This is not a pig. It is a goat."