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Controversial Pig Wrestling Won't Be Part of 2016's Utah County Fair

blogs.nppa.org

The Utah County Fair, which runs until Saturday, will not feature pig wrestling this year, according to fair officials, though it's been part of the fair for years. It involves teams of four wrestling a pig into a barrel. But this year, teams will have to compete somewhere else.

Fair Director Mike Stansfield said the event was approved for 2016, but the contractors who usually provide the pigs declined to come, citing scheduling issues and past problems. Jeremy Beckham, the director of the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, says he’s happy to hear the news.

“The Utah Animal Rights Coalition is thrilled that pig wrestling won’t be taking place at the Utah County Fair this year,” Beckham said. “The pigs that are used in this event are obviously terrified. They have their legs pulled. They have their ears pulled. They’re slammed into barrels. When I attended the last couple years, I frequently saw pigs limping out of the ring because they were being manhandled so roughly.”

Beckham said pig wrestling is one of many inhumane events at the county fair. He also cited several rodeo events and other fair events around the state, such as the Salt Lake County Bear Show, as animal cruelty.

Large groups of animal rights activists attended the fair in years past to protest the event. Beckham said these protests weren’t all done by members of the UARC, but hopes the actions will deter contractors from bringing their animals to the event in the future.

“There’s going to be more disruptions if they come back here,” Beckham said. “I want him to know that Utah does have a large community of people that care a lot about animals and this is going to stay on our radar. And frankly, their abusive event is not welcome in our state.”

There’s been no word yet as to whether or not the event will return to next year’s Utah County Fair.