Pet Pig – Australia

Accessorising used to be as simple as slipping on a pair of cufflinks or placing a flower behind the ear – and for the ladies, pinning a big broach to the bosom or sumptuously fanning oneself with a dead feather.

But today, you’ll need to think more laterally to turn heads.

Pets have long since existed beyond their remit as merely companions. Menopausal matriarchs exchange their handbags for chihuahuas, hard-men supplemented by punchy pit-bulls and punks draped with albino weasels.

But what about farmyard animals?  They’ve been a notable exception in fashion accoutrement, their job description not going past trawling, being milked, sheered or slain.

The pig, however, has long been moonlighting. Although not synonymous with the fashion world, it does more than just get smoked and shunned by some religions. Carefully decode the ingredients of certain lipsticks and other beauty products to see how they feature. Pig fat rendering is the salt of the cosmetic world: diverse, essential and ubiquitous.

But for many, the revelation of unknowingly smearing dead pig around the face is a step too far – even in the name of fashion. Heavy with guilt or contorted in disgust – it’s immaterial now. For the latest fashion accessory is a live pig.

To be strutting aside a pig, is to be on the sharp side of the cutting-edge.

On the uber hip streets of Melbourne, the pooch is passé – smooth, pink lines are preferred. Both a style statement and redemption, of sorts. Elevating the much maligned piggy to dog-like status. From religious whipping boy to angelic domesticity, without a bacon sandwich in sight.

And great pets they are: loyal, cuddly, intelligent. Yes, intelligent. Apparently, they’re the most perceptive animal in the yard, acutely sensing the dark omens of the abattoir -the waiting line is pandemonium, total terror when compared to the shuffling ambivalence of the cow, chicken or horse – all oblivious to their impending fate.

The pig is tuned in, adept at reading pheromones and mood – it knows when its number is up, or when to approach for cuddles. This all translates to a more empathetic pet – one that understands you, your idiosyncrasies and whims, and ultimately the conditionality of human interaction.