Target: Administrator Kevin Shea, USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Goal: Ban cruel ‘pig wrestling’ practice
A recent event at a high school sparked outcry and allegations of animal abuse when a so-called ‘pig rodeo’ resulted in injuries to a juvenile pig. Yet pig rodeos, also known as pig wrestling, are common events in fairs across the country and subject pigs to cruelty and needless injury in the name of entertainment. Sign this petition to demand a crack-down on these events.
In these events, participants attempt to catch a penned pig—which is occasionally covered in some kind of lubricant such as cooking oil—wrestle it to the ground, and attempt to place it on a barrel in a race against the clock. Typically there are four participants, and pigs vary in size from full-grown adults to juveniles.
Though pigs are hardy animals, this no excuse for subjecting them to the stress and pain of capture. When caught, pigs are thrown to the ground, often under the combined weight of four people, their limbs at risk of twisting or breaking. In their desperate struggle to escape, they may injure themselves, especially when held by the legs in ways their bodies simply cannot support. Because they are penned in mud pits, there is also the risk of aspirating water or inhaling mud when tackled, especially as they are wrestled to the ground.
Referees are sometimes involved to make certain that the animals are not held underwater, but this does not prevent injury or stress on limbs and joints. Nor can referees or officials prevent the terror or emotional stress experienced by pigs involved in wrestling, when they are violently set upon in a behavior similar to predatory attack, forced down—sometimes unable to breathe—and lifted off the ground, as well as frequently dropped when they struggle.
Pigs are exceptionally intelligent and capable of feeling complex emotion. They are affectionate and friendly when kept as pets, and do not deserve the stress, fear, and possibility of injury that pig wrestling subjects them to.
Dear Administrator Kevin Shea,
A recent controversy at a high school concerning pig wrestling—in which a young juvenile pig was tormented and battered—made me aware of pig wrestling, and its needless torment of pigs for entertainment.
In pig wrestling, pigs are penned in mud pits and chased by participants, who must catch it and place it in or on a barrel in an allotted amount of time. The pigs involved are at risk of injury from rough treatment, including torsional stress on joints, and in many cases may inhale mud or water when wrestled to the ground.
Though not as physically violent or stressful as many other rodeo-like activities, pig wrestling is still needless torment of an animal for entertainment. The emotional stress and terror endured by pigs—who are undeniably intelligent animals—cannot be justified simply because they are livestock. The very practice itself encourages disregard for these animals, instead of promoting compassion and kindness for a species proven to be just as intelligent and capable of affection and loyalty as dogs. I understand this cause may not be the most urgent in terms of animal welfare, but regardless, pigs are deserving of protection from needless stress and torment. I urge you to address these events, and crack down on them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Mark Peters via Wikimedia Commons