Animal rights group urges residents to boycott Stoughton Fair | Connect Stoughton

Way to go Global Conservation Group!

An animal rights group that sees pig wrestling as inhumane is urging people to boycott the event at the annual Stoughton Junior Fair later this week.

But a representative of the committee that organizes the fair disputes the claim that pig wrestling is cruel.

“We do everything in our power to make sure that the animals are taken care of prior to and after the competition,” said Steve Wethal, vice-president of the Fair Board. “We put animal safety first.”

He added, “It’s been a successful event and people seem to enjoy it.”

An organization called Global Conservation Group sees the event in a different light.

In a news release, the group asks people to boycott the pig wrestling event “because pigs being punched in the face, kicked, body-slammed, jumped on, yelled at and thrown into a bucket is not acceptable and is common practice during pig wrestling contests in Wisconsin.”

Pig wrestling, or “wrasslin,” is an event where contestants chase pigs around a fenced-off mud pit to attempt to place the pig on a barrel in a limited period of time, either 30 or 45 seconds, Wethal explained.

“I don’t think the pigs are traumatized,” he said. “It’s a very short window; a timed event. And if you don’t get your pig in the time allotted, then you’re done.”

Wethal explained that the event has been held at the fair for only the past four or five years. He said it’s done to attract more people to the fair.

“We are a free fair, so we don’t charge to get on the grounds and we don’t charge for parking, like other fairs do,” Wethal said. “We were looking for ways to put on a relatively inexpensive show. Pig wrestling is done at other county fairs. So we looked at that aspect. It’s inexpensive for us and draws a crowd. That’s pretty much the whole reason behind it.”

He disputed the Global Conservation Group’s assertion that “using pigs in this form of entertainment is inhumane.”

“We have to remember that just as humans, pigs also have the same ability to feel pain, emotions, and the desire to live,” the group wrote in its news release.

The group also alleges that conducting pig wrestling or even viewing the event is illegal under Wisconsin law.

“Spectators could be subject to prosecution for a misdemeanor offense for attending a pig wrestling event under section 951.18(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes,” the group claims.

Wethal said the Fair Board did receive some complaints about the event a few years ago. He said the committee discussed and decided to continue it.

“We’ve had threats of protestors coming,” he acknowledged. “We always discuss it, but it’s the relatively inexpensive show to put on and keeps us a free fair.”

“In my opinion,” he added, “I don’t feel we are damaging the pigs in any way. They walk off the trailer and back on the trailer under their own power.”

Animal rights group urges residents to boycott Stoughton Fair | Connect Stoughton.