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Business owner shares perspective on pig wrestling at the local 4-H Fair

Editor:


I am writing this in response to the posts on pig wrestling. I would like to say first off myself and a friend are the ones putting on several of the pig wrestling at most of the Northern Indiana County fairs. We too have heard some of the things said on the negative side of pig wrestling. However most people complaining have not been to see one of the our pig wrestling's. When we do a pig wrestling there are rules for the safety of the animal (we do referee the event). I would like to give you a list of the rules.
1. No pig may be snared by the mouth, tail, ears or flipped over on its back.
2. The pig's head must remain above the water at all times.
3. To catch the pig you must stop the forward motion of the pig and pick the pig straight up. The pig is then to be sat on top of a padded barrel in the center of the ring. (Not in a barrel). Any throwing of the pig or slamming the pig on the barrel in anyway results in disqualification and a forfeit an entry fees.
4. Each team is allowed 45 seconds to catch the pig, if you do not catch the pig within that time frame you will receive a no time and the contest will stop.
5. Once any part of the pig is touching the barrel and all 4 feet off the ground a whistle is blown and the clock is stopped. Once the whistle is blown, the pig must be gently setback down on the ground and return to the pen. Any abusive action as far as throwing or pushing a pig off the barrel results in disqualification.
6. Officials will stop a team at any time for roughness, foul language, or inappropriate behavior. This is final!
We got into this event because it was the most well attended event at our fair. It has also been one of the most popular for every other fair that we've gone to with the average county fair profiting $8,000 to $10,000 to go back towards promoting the 4-H fair.
One of the positive things about this event it is it is one of the most family friendly events that we can use to promote our 4-H fair. Most contestants are 4-H's, 4-H families and those with experience around livestock.
We to have seen some of the articles written to some of the newspapers. Every county fair we attended last year made the comment that the pig wrestling show had the grandstands the most full of any other event they've done. When we take this in to consideration more local people support it than oppose it.
There have also been comments that several pigs have been injured and had legs broken or were paralyzed. Last year we ran 523 teams through total at our pig wrestling events. Not one pig was injured nor did we lose any pigs.
Also it needs to be known that these pigs are raised outside 24 hours a day on pastures (not caged pacing back and forth like zoo animals their whole life), they are jogged every day. They are some of the most fit and healthiest pigs you will find.
What we are doing is no different than a rodeo contractor. Taking the absolute best care of our animals, conditioning them, accustoming them to people and being handled and asking them to work for 45 seconds. Last year all the pigs used in the pig wrestling event were processed in the fall at local butchers. Out of 80 pigs, we had zero cut out for bruising on any one pig.
I have an open invitation to anyone, to come see how these pigs are cared for. As well as attend one of our pig wrestling events to see how we actually run it. We are not doing it in Indiana the way some of the other states have done shoving pigs headfirst into a steel barrel with no limit on time and no rules to safely restrain the pig.
May it also be known, we have had several new counties contact us this year because they are all losing money during their fair and they're trying to come up with new ways to have a profitable fair to benefit their 4-H program.
It saddens me to see that some take a stance on this without knowing the facts nor attending any of the events that we have done. Please don't base your opinion by reading any thing written by those who oppose it. They do not state any of the facts. The pigs do not have any substance on them and they are not piglets. They weigh close to 300 pounds (for the adult teams). They are not shoved into barrels and none have been injured in any way. They are in their environment and have the advantage! The humans however do not.
Also it needs to be known that pigs squeal, they squeal if you touch them and they squeal when they touch each other.

Thank you for your time,
Kyle Bailey

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