Information for owners of pet pigs

The keeping of pigs as pets has become a popular pastime in recent years. Breeds such as Vietnamese pot bellies, Kunekunes and micro-pigs are being kept in back gardens and on small holdings for recreational purposes. On most occasions they are kept solely as pets but in other circumstances they are being bred and offered for sale. Advertisements of the sale such pigs are to be found in the print editions of newspapers and on internet sites.

Registering your pet pig(s)

Piglets

It is important that the locations of all pigs kept in NI are registered with DARD for disease control purposes. In 2012 Aujeszky’s Disease (AD) was successfully eradicated from the pig population on the island of Ireland and other exotic pig diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Classical/African Swine Fever(C/ASF) are not present. In the event of an outbreak of disease of concern to DARD, e.g. AD, FMD, etc, it is vital that we are aware of the location of all pigs and their movement history in order to minimise spread and facilitate speedy eradication where necessary.

Keepers of pet pigs should be aware that legislation relating to pig keeping in N. Ireland (NI) which applies to commercial pig keepers also applies to them. Anyone intending to keep a pig in NI must first register their details with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). This includes those intending to keep a single pet pig.

Article (4) of The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 requires that:

A person who intends to keep a pig on a holding shall inform the Department in writing beforehand, giving details of:

  • the name and address of the keeper of the pig
  • the address or an accurate description of the location of the holding
  • the name and address of the owner and, if different, the occupier of the holding
  • the address or an accurate description of the location of the premises on the holding on which the pig is intended to be kept
  • any other species of animals on the holding and any numbers or codes used to identify any cattle, sheep, goats or poultry on the holding

Anyone intending to keep a pig(s) as a hobby should either contact DARD on 0300 200 7850 for advice on how to register your holding or complete a pig holding application form which can be sourced from your local DARD office .

If you do not already hold a DARD Business Id number (where you are already registered to keep cattle/sheep/etc) you will also be required to obtain a Hobby Business Id. Application forms for this are also available from your local DARD office.

Once we have received your pig holding application form a DARD officer will contact you to arrange a site visit when you will be advised about:-

  • the suitability of your premises for keeping pigs
  • your legal obligations relating to pig identification, movement controls and record keeping
  • whether  blood sampling for AD disease surveillance may be required
  • current pig welfare requirements
  • bio-security arrangements aimed at protecting both your pigs and those of others  from disease
  • waste food feeding
  • any other relevant issues such as slaughter for human consumption where applicable

Pigs must always be sourced within NI from an already registered holding in order to comply with the current legislation. If you intend sourcing pigs from across the border in the south of Ireland they must be accompanied by a health certificate provided by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine when imported. Where pigs are to be sourced from GB you must first obtain an import licence from DARD and again they must be accompanied by a health certificate when imported. A copy of these import certificates should be sent to your local DARD office within seven days of arrival here.

If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact us on 0300 200 7850.

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