More than 100 micro pigs running wild in the Welsh countryside have been shot dead over fears they could attack children.
Swansea Council said the “humane” cull was necessary because of the risk the animals presented to livestock and welfare agencies were informed.
Some of the Kunekune pigs, which have become popularised as pets by celebrities including David Beckham, Miley Cyrus and George Clooney, are believed to have escaped from captivity and bred with farm pigs.
As many as 300 of the animals were living in the Welsh Moor area of the Gower peninsula, the BBC reported, and no owners could be found to take them away.
Farmers had called the council with concerns about them damaging property, Wales Online reported, and parents visiting the beauty spot with children were worried the pigs could attack if they felt threatened while protecting piglets.
“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,” a council spokesperson said.
“This was carried out by a licensed professional and with full support of local farmers in the area.
“We also liaised with animal welfare officers in the Welsh Government to keep them informed of our actions.”
A professional marksman killed the 106 Kunekune pigs and cross-breeds over the last week.
Micro pigs can be one of several species and are bred to be as small as possible but can grow to be up to 5ft long and 3ft tall, leading unprepared owners who cannot care for them abandoning them in the wild.
The RSPCA has raised concerns about micro pigs being kept as pets since 2009, when the trend first started, and has reminded owners that they are farm animals in the eyes of the law and must be cared for accordingly.
"This incident is an example of why we have significant concerns about the breeding and keeping of ‘micro’ pigs," a spokesperson said.
“Although these pigs are advertised as being ‘micro’, people might not be getting what they think they are expecting.
“Some so-called micro pigs may grow to be much larger than expected by the time they reach adult size.”
They must have areas for “rooting” (digging in the ground) and will become destructive if their natural behaviour is not allowed.
Micro pigs are herd animals happiest in social groups and can be aggressive towards owners if they are kept alone, the RSPCA said.Reuse content