ANIMAL rights activists failed to ban a popular pig scramble fair.
The event went ahead at this year’s Deerfield Festival in New Hampshire, US, despite an online petition and a threatened protest by activists.
Pig scramble is an event where children chase piglets and, one-handed, catch and drop them into a burlap sack.
Scrambles are popular mainstays at many agricultural fairs, and have been held in Deerfield for 34 years.
This year’s pig scramble has been cleared by the state veterinarian and follows a strict set of rules designed to keep the pigs safe.
But about two-dozen outraged protesters gathered outside the Deerfield Fair to speak out against the use of animals in entertainment.
One said: “I don’t believe that humans have the right to keep animals as pets, use for fun or fashion or food.”
The other added: “These pig scrambles, they’re quite an antiquated event…I think this is something people have been disturbed about for a long time.”
Susan Martel, who has been the announcer for the scramble since it started at the Deerfield Fair was among the ones who were not happy about the animal rights protest.
The woman labelled animal rights activists restrictive and inappropriate.
She said: “I wasn’t emotional because of the protestors. I’m more emotional about the farmer – that people want to take away their freedom.
“I totally think there’s a movement that wants to take away the freedom of people to have animals.”
Richard Pitman, the spokesperson and vice president for the Deerfield Fair added: “We’ve taken many precautions to protect the piglets. We do it by the books, by our rules. It’s such a popular attraction for the fair.
“There are strict rules when it comes to catching the pigs. You can’t grab them by the ear, tail or lay down on top of them. The fair stops immediately if there’s any issues.”
Since it began, the event has received a lot of good feedback from the audience and veterinarians who attended.
The event is also meant to teach kids how to care for livestock.
Patricia Morris, an animal rights attorney, said that when it comes to animal cruelty towards livestock, veterinarians are the only ones that can make that call.
She said: “Dealing with livestock is so much different than dealing with domestic animals.
“The general public doesn’t know livestock like they do a dog or cat.”