Posted 7/31/11; updated 1/10/13
This page was created in response to the 2011 Western Montana Fair pig wrestling “contest.” No such contest was part of the 2012 fair.
In 2011, the Western Montana Fair announced free entertainment: Pig wrestling. Sadly, a medical clinic was among the sponsors.
Wrestling, as a sport, is contested by two human opponents, evenly matched, each of whom enters into the match voluntarily with mutually agreed-upon rules and a common goal. Not so in “matches” like pig wrestling, where frightened animals are unwilling participants exploited by teams of humans for entertainment. One species’ fun is another species’ terror–is this so hard to grasp?
It’s easy enough to contact a radio station, protest, and switch to another channel. It’s not so easy to change doctors and clinics. Letting sponsors know that we (their listeners, customers, and clients) object to this exploitive treatment of animals is our trump card–along with calling them out publicly. We encouraged consumers to contact sponsors. Remaining polite and offering education is key–it behooves us to assume that decision-makers who involved their businesses as sponsors never gave much thought to the emotional and perhaps physical toll taken on frightened animals thrown in a pen with four humans intent on capturing and dumping them in a bucket while throngs of onlookers scream.
Pig wrestling might not seem terribly important in the grand scheme of things when much greater and more heinous animal abuse and exploitation exist as a routine matter, but small injustices enable larger ones. Every objection (phone calls, e-mails, letters to the editor, Facebook posts, etc.) has the potential to raise awareness about animal exploitation and bring change. In a relatively small venue like this one, we can bring pressure to bear on decision-makers who might deliberate more thoughtfully and compassionately in the future when approached to sponsor animal-exploiting events.
Not only is pig wrestling stupid, it’s mean, too. And meanness is not entertaining. Let’s find a civil and enlightening way to relay this message to sponsors, fair promoters, and the public.
Double D Pig Wrestling out of Greybull, WY is a contractor that provides pig wrestling and greased pig contests for fairs. Visit their website here. Don’t miss the videos–screaming pigs, screaming piglets, screaming humans. It’s stomach-turning.
NoPigWrestling.org: Wisconsin has a law on the books prohibiting organized pig wrestling, but “…does not prohibit events or exhibitions commonly featured at rodeos or bloodless bullfights.” (The Western Montana Fair event would likely fall in this latter category.) Nonetheless, this website is a great source of information. Visit the home page here, and don’t miss the “pigs” tab and the photo page.
2011–Slide show: Mud wrestling pigs at the Northwest Montana Fair (Flathead Beacon). Don’t miss the comments–here’s a typical Montana response: “…go back to the city where you belong. This is Montana, where farmers live. Where pigs are pigs, not humans. Don’t like it, don’t go…don’t watch it…don’t read about it. That simple.”
2010–Pig wrestling event draws ire of animal rights group: read it here. Notable quotes: “There’s no necessity to have a gladiatorial display of human brawn against an animal who doesn’t want to participate.” ”…pigs have high intelligence and just because they are being raised to be slaughtered, doesn’t mean people can be cruel to them.”
2008– County axes greased pig contest: County commissioners stopped a “greased pig” contest from going forward at a West Virginia county fair thanks to citizen protest. Read it here.
From Wikipedia: Concerns have been raised by animal rights organizations that using pigs in this form of entertainment is inhumane, since the pigs have no choice in the matter of whether they want to wrestle or not. The wrestling may impose undue emotional stress on the pigs, as evidenced by fearful squealing, and causes physical torsional stress on the pigs’ joints. Some fairs have thus eliminated pig wrestling from their events. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_wrestling
Pig wrestling? Heck no! from the PETA files.
Another one bites the dust? Ultimate pig wrestle dot com
Dust unbitten: Tri-County Fair 2013 - “All proceeds are donated to local Charities (sic) chosen by the first and second place teams.” Charity doesn’t excuse cruelty.
Clueless in Utah: Pig Wrestling Galore (“Pigs love mud!”)
Pig Wrestling on Facebook: Click.
Dozens wrestle pigs: Baltimore Sun (2008) Quote: “Farmers are struggling. My friend in Pennsylvania added this to his summertime activities and has had great success. The community and church support it, even the Boy Scouts. They draw unbelievable crowds.”
Is pig wrestling cruel? From the Deseret News (note: article is dated 1989)
And for an unenlightened view from the Hoosier state: A writer at the Greene County Daily World trivializes humane concerns and in a stunning display of inhumanity and illogic justifies the “entertainment” because pigs are raised to go to slaughter. “That is what market hogs do. They are raised to go to market to be consumed.” Read it here.