Church cancels pig wrestling event after complaints by advocacy group who said animals were ‘punched in the face, body slammed and jumped on!’
- St Patrick’s Parish in Wisconsin said its four-decade tradition, Original Pig Rassle, will be replaced with human mud foosball this summer
- Global Conversation Group started online petition last August to cancel event claiming it was inhumane; it collected more than 81,000 signatures
- The group said they are ‘very proud of the church for doing what’s right’ and consider this a huge step for animal welfare
A Wisconsin church’s four-decade tradition of people mud-wrestling pigs at a summer fund-raiser has been canceled after complaints the animals were ‘punched in the face, body slammed and jumped on’. St Patrick’s Parish in Stephensville, Wisconsin said in a statement that the Original Pig Rassle will be replaced this August with a human mud foosball tournament. Global Conservation Group, an animal advocacy group, launched an online petition claiming the tournament was inhumane to the pigs. It garnered more than 81,000 signatures in efforts to cancel the event. Deacon Ken Bilgrien of St Patrick’s Parish told Christian Today on Wednesday that the church is moving in a different direction for its 45th annual Roundup, but declined to discuss the controversy surrounding the event.
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On August 10, 2014, the church held a ‘pig wrestling’ event where the animals were ‘punched in the face, kicked, body-slammed, yelled at and thrown onto a barrel’, according to the Global Conversation Group. ‘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,’ the group wrote on its website.
‘Not so in “matches” like pig wrestling, where frightened animals are unwilling participants exploited by teams of humans for entertainment.’
The group also accused the church of being in violation of Wisconsin Chapter 951, Crimes Against Animals, which outlaws cockfighting, dog fighting and any other similar fighting between animals or animals and humans, according to its Change.org page.
The church announced in a statement that moving forward the parish’s talents could be ‘spent in areas that are less controversial’. ‘After much prayer and many hours of discussion, we realize that what we had for 44 years in the Original Pig Rassle was memorable, legal and great family fun,’ the statement on its website read.
‘We also realize that our parish and diocesan talents could be better spent in areas that are less controversial. ‘It is with great regret that we have discontinued the Original Pig Rassle, we are however, very excited to begin this new tradition at St. Patrick Parish.’ Following the news, Global Conservation Group, which protested the church’s ‘pig rassle’ last August, wrote on its Change.org page on April 21: ‘This is huge! After 260 days of non-stop campaigning, the church announced today that no further animal abuse events will be held.’ ‘We’re very happy. We consider this a victory for our campaign,’ Jordan Turner, Global Conservation Group President told WBAY. ‘We’re very proud of the church for doing what’s right for all involved. And we certainly consider this a huge step for animal welfare.’ Biglrien said the church is moving on as they look forward to the new event that will be apart of its annual Roundup this summer. ‘You know, we’ve had problems in the past and this is something new and exciting that we want to do,’ he told WBAY.
- Saving their bacon: Church pig wrestling event cancelled after animal rights petition | Christian News on Christian Today
- Petition Update · VICTORY: Church Cancels Pigs Fighting Events · Change.org
- WBAY – Annual Pig Rassle Canceled After Controversy – April 22, 2015
- Animal Cruelty | St. Patrick’s Abuse