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End cruel contest

I am writing in regard to the “Greased Pig Contest” held at the recent Washington County Fair in Marietta.

Let me preface this by saying that I realize that county fairs are a great way to educate the public on the importance of agriculture. Those who work with livestock (and involved with fairs) should be respected. Many of the practices that could be considered “cruel” by the uneducated are in fact not. I am also aware that pigs will squeal at the least little thing so it’s not always an indicator of pain.

“Greased Pig Contests” have been around for a long time and often accepted. I have been told that no animals were physically hurt in this particular contest. However, torn ligaments (or other physical harm) are not the only forms of cruelty. “Inducing fear” in an animal is another form of cruelty, and these pigs were terrified as a large group was simultaneously chasing them around in an enclosure, and grabbing them (with some people lifting their legs). One lady (who, by the way, is not an animal rights activist) with her young son, quickly had to stop videoing the contest because she said it was so disgusting.

Several people in our community who either attended this event or heard about it were shocked when they realized what all was involved.

What does this contest teach our children? That it’s okay to frighten animals by chasing them, grabbing them, and pulling on their legs? (Yes, I realize that working with pigs’ back legs in farming is acceptable practice but this was for entertainment, which is different.)

I, as well as many others, believe that the fair should promote events that teach kindness and compassion. Just because these cruel contests have been around for years doesn’t make them right. It’s 2019! Let’s choose events and activities that teach kindness and compassion and drop any contest that frightens animals.

Linda L. Perry

Washington, W.Va.

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