Please say no to pig 'wrestling' at the 2015 Fair

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Please say no to pig 'wrestling' at the 2015 Fair

This petition had 19,545 supporters
River Valley Crawford County Humane Society started this petition to Harrison County Fair Board, Corydon Indiana

An event known as pig 'wrestling' has been proposed for the 2015 Harrison County Indiana Fair. Infant and young pigs are to be brought in from out of state and put into a mud pit where teams of people will chase the pigs with the goal to throw the pig into a trash can. The photo above showing a pig dropped on her head provides an example of the cruelty endured by the animals. We the signed ask the Fair Board to say no to this event and instead choose community-positive public activities. 

1) The proposed event is not wrestling. Full Definition of Wrestling: "a sport or contest in which two unarmed individuals struggle hand to hand with each attempting to subdue or unbalance the other." The proposed event does not meet the definition of wrestling. Instead a small targeted animal is overwhelmed by groups of much larger stronger individuals. The animal is then grabbed twisted, shoved face first into the mud, dragged and thrown. The animal is in no way a competitor. Clearly this is abuse, bullying and terrorizing of a defenseless animal. 

2) Do the pigs suffer? According to professors at Kansas State University and Purdue University pigs have a high sense of smell and also pigs are very sensitive to pain. Lifting and pulling pigs by their front legs is painful and can result in injury due to the fact the front leg leading up to the scapula is connected to the rest of the skeleton by tendons and ligaments instead of a ball and joint bone structure. Countless online photos and videos of pigs assaulted by teams of humans clearly show the pigs being hoisted by their front legs, their bodies being contorted at near 45degree angles and being forced into other abnormal positions. In one online video a pig is seen with her head forced into the mud. When she finally struggles back up she clearly spews out the slop. Inhaling mud into her lungs and swallowing the mud is possible. Were a dog or cat treated in this manner charges of cruelty would result. We have seen no evidence that medical care is provided the possibly injured animals.

3) Pigs are considered one of the 10 smartest animals and closer to chimpanzees in intelligence than dogs. According to NBC News Science: “Here's the dirt on pigs: They are perhaps the smartest, cleanest domestic animals known - more so than cats and dogs, according to some experts. But pigs don't have sweat glands, so they roll around in the mud to stay cool. A sign of their cleverness came from experiments in the 1990s. Pigs were trained to move a cursor on a video screen with their snouts and used the cursor to distinguish between scribbles they knew and those they were seeing for the first time. They learned the task as quickly as chimpanzees.”

4) The proposed event is not legal: According to the Harrison County Indiana Animal Control Ordinance Section 19. Cruelty To An Animal: Mistreatment of animals is prohibited under this ordinance. Accordingly, it shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously torture, torment, beat, kick, strike, mutilate, injure, disable any animal. Furthermore, it shall be unlawful for any person to incite, stage or set any animal to fighting within the County.

5) Disease and parasite transmission as well as human injuries and child endangerment are of concern. Videos clearly show terrorized pigs defecating and urinating in the mud. Children and adults alike have the feces-urine mixture splashed into their faces, eyes and mouths. Spectators could be splashed by the mixture and fairgoers at other areas of the fair could come into contact with the same. See the following: Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, 2011: National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV) This report has been endorsed by CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, the American Association of Extension Veterinarians, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Summary: Certain venues encourage or permit the public to be in contact with animals, resulting in millions of human-animal interactions each year. These settings include county or state fairs, petting zoos, animal swap meets, pet stores, feed stores, zoologic institutions, circuses, carnivals, educational farms, livestock-birthing exhibits, educational exhibits at schools and child-care facilities, and wildlife photo opportunities. Although human-animal contact has many benefits, human health problems are associated with these settings, including infectious diseases, exposure to rabies, and injuries. Infectious disease outbreaks have been caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella species, Cryptosporidium species, Coxiella burnetii, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, ringworm, and other pathogens. Such outbreaks have substantial medical, public health, legal, and economic effects. Facility Design: The design of facilities and animal pens should minimize the risk associated with animal contact 

6) Proper Care of Livestock - The proposed event is in clear conflict with 4-H standards: 4-H Youth Development, Animal Systems University of Illinois Excerpt: "Animal welfare is a growing concern in this country today and warrants some attention during county fairs and any other 4-H livestock event. Therefore, it is imperative that we show all general audiences at these livestock events that we as keepers of animals do know the right way to raise and care for livestock.While we are at the fair showing livestock we are under the watchful eye of the general public.This gives us a great opportunity to show all kinds of people the method in which we care for our livestock.  The following is a list of guidelines which should be helpful in preventing any misconceptions that the public or any special interest groups may have about the way we raise livestock. The proper care of animals in a public setting should receive primary attention." See four of those sixteen 4-H Guidelines:

  1. Keep your pens clean and dry.      
  2. Handle animals in a very humane way.                                                      
  3. Avoid stressing the animal.
  4. Keep animals clean, a clean animal is viewed as a healthy animal.                                                          

7) Children who witness or participate in aggression/bullying toward and abuse of animals are psychologically harmed. See the following: Conceptualizing Animal Abuse with an Antisocial Behaviour Framework by Eleonora Gullone                        

  • -Animal abuse includes acts that intend psychological suffering of an animal.                                                                                                            
  • -Animal abuse can occur out of motivation to impress others or shock people for amusement.                                                                                    
  • -Witnessing acts of aggression as a child increases the likelihood of a later tendency to behave violently.                                                                         

8) Kindness to Animals: Established in 1948, The National Humane Education Society's mission is to foster a sentiment of kindness to animals in children and adults: “Many childrens’ first experiences with empathy occur through interactions with pets and other animals. Therefore, adults who model kind treatment of animals help children develop the ability to treat others with compassion and dignity. Unfortunately, children who witness the routine exploitation or harassment of animals can develop social behaviors that are guided by aggression, dominance, and even violence—especially towards living beings weaker than themselves. In addition to animal cruelty, the modern world faces formidable social ills in the forms of interpersonal violence and bullying. Now more than ever, adults have a responsibility to teach children the importance of empathy, compassion, and dignity towards all Earth’s creatures.”                                      

9) Alternative entertainment options: We encourage you to consider community-positive features including - Disc (frisbee) Dog Competitions or Displays; Mixed Breed Dog Shows; Animal Shelter Dogs and Cats Available for Adoption; Veterinarian Animal Emergency Care Workshops; IDNR Conservation Officer Wildlife Workshops; and Sailing Workshops (with options for signing up for a future sailing lesson).

Events sponsored by the Fair which involve humane respectful treatment of animals and positive public activities are of benefit to Harrison County Indiana.

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