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Pot Bellied Mimi under house arrest—till licence arrives

PUBLISHED: 00:33 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 05 October 2010

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Carmen Valino

MEET Mimi the black Vietnamese pot-bellied pig who’s so popular she’s even got her own Facebook’ page on the internet. The 20-month-old sow, who weighs a hefty nine-stone, is not here illegally—but is under house arrest all the same

By Hannah Roberts

MEET Mimi the black Vietnamese pot-bellied pig—the newest immigrant to London’s East End who’s so popular she’s even got her own Facebook’ page on the internet.

The 20-month-old sow, who weighs a hefty nine-stone, is not here illegally—but is under house arrest all the same.

The fully-grown hog used to take in the sights of leafy, suburban Wimbledon the other side of town with her 27-year-old art student owner Silvia Reis.

But since moving last week to an East End council flat in Bethnal Green’s Blythendale House in Mansford Street, off Hackney Road, she has been housebound while waiting for the licence from Whitehall before she can be taken for walks in the street.

DISEASE

“Pigs can carry diseases,” owner Silvia explained. “So if something breaks out, the authorities have to know exactly where she has been.”

Even then, she will have to stick to a set route that won’t bring her into contact with other pigs.

That’s not so unusual, even in an inner urban district like the East End. Mimi’s new home is barely a pigs’ trot from Hackney city farm just the other side of the Hackney Road.

Neighbours, meanwhile, have raised concerns with the current fears of swine flu’ from Mexico.

“She’s never been to Mexico—she’s from Portugal,” Silvia insists. “Besides, Mimi is very clean.”

FACEBOOK

Mimi is using her housebound’ time while waiting for her street’ licence from the Environment & Rural Affairs Department by keeping busy with her own Facebook profile on the internet. She has 35 Facebook friends’ eager to know what she’s up to.

“Mimi is fully housetrained and very intelligent,” Silvia will tell you. “She thinks she should live inside the flat with us. She’s very territorial.”

High maintenance Mimi requires a special diet of vegetarian pig food Silvia buys online—dried veg and soya, with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Silvia also has several dogs back in her native Portugal, but they couldn’t come because of Britain’s strict quarantine regulations—that don’t appear to include pigs like Mimi.


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