Mini pigs are now the latest craze in Japan, with one Tokyo cafe offering customers the chance to pet them for a small cost.
Despite not spending any money on advertising, the cafe reportedly receives a steady stream of customers, who all heard about the establishment from social media.
What they offer: For 2,200 yen ($15), Mipig Cafe customers can spend time and mingle with the resident teacup pigs for 30 minutes. They can also buy one from the cafe for 200,000 yen ($1,360).
About the pigs: The miniature pigs, which are claimed to not get any bigger than a corgi dog, have been toilet-trained and socialized with humans. Like other pet animals, they are unique and have their own individual personalities, café executive Shiho Kitagawa told AP.
More branches coming:
Mipig Cafe is planning to open two new outlets in Tokyo – one in Ikebukuro Sunshine City, which has a maximum capacity of 40 people, and another in Harajuku in Takeshita Street, with a planned 20 maximum capacity, according to a press release
Concerns raised: Some animal rights activists have raised concerns on whether cafe animals themselves enjoy their interactions. Sachiko Azuma, head of Tokyo-based Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation, told AP that they “have become tools for a money-making business.” The group primarily opposes animal experiments and “petting zoos” but approves of cafes that try to find new homes for abandoned pets.
Meanwhile, Timothy Bonebrake, a professor at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong
, highlighted the importance of the government’s role in regulating such cafés.
“Governments have a responsibility to make sure that these things are certified, that the animals are being sourced ethically and that there isn’t any kind of illegal trade involved,” Bonebrake told KTVN