Aug 7, 2015

Is pig wrestling abusive? No way, say county commissioners

In some literal pork barrel politics, Park County commissioners are giving their endorsement to the county fair's annual pig wrestling competition.

In a letter to the Cody Enterprise published Tuesday, Cody resident Ronald Young said the commissioners, the fair board and staff “are guilty of animal torture” by allowing and promoting pig mud wrestling at the Park County Fair. Young said “humane humans” should boycott the fair until the practice is banned.

“Pig mud wrestling is a brutal remnant behavior of our more primitive selves,” Young wrote. “It is a sad commentary on our inhumanity that we are still entertained by and laugh at the terror felt by pigs who cannot escape from sources of that terror.”

This year's pig wrestling drew many contestants and spectators at the Park County Fair. Cody News Co. photo by Matt Naber
Park County Events Coordinator Echo Renner brought the letter to the commissioners' attention at their Tuesday meeting, where the criticism was quickly dismissed.

“That's not abuse,” Commissioner Loren Grosskopf said, later adding that he enjoys watching the little children who participate in the annual event.

“I'm not going to say we won't have pig wrestling anymore. Come on,” said Commissioner Tim French. “They (those complaining) need to concentrate their efforts on something else.”

French questioned the impact of the wrestling versus “what happens when you kill them and eat them?” He called the event “pretty harmless" and offered that “pig wrestling's more abusive to the contestants.”

In his letter, Young wrote that, “For those disagreeing with this letter, who consider pig mud wrestling harmless fun – and I imagine that will be most who read this letter – I would ask that they really think hard about what the pig is going through during the wrestling.”

In the event, contestants are placed in a ring filled with slippery bentonite, along with a pig, and tasked with getting the swine picked up and into a barrel as fast as they can (and before time expires).

Renner said the contractor who supplies the pigs requires that each pig be washed clean of all the mud after the wrestling and staff ensure the animals are not abused.

Pig wrestling is a popular and long-standing Park County Fair event. Other Wyoming fairs also put on the competitions.


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