Wisconsin church criticized for pig wrestling event

Published On: Aug 08 2014 06:35:28 AM HST   Updated On: Aug 13 2014 06:00:00 PM HST

Wisconsin police say they will monitor a church's pig wrestling event after tens of thousands of people expressed concern for animal rights.

The event, part of St. Patrick Parish's 44th annual Roundup Days, will be held this weekend.

More than 42,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the cancellation of the Pig Rassle in Stephensville.

VIDEO: Wisconsin church criticized for Pig Rassle

The petition was posted by an animal advocacy organization in Watertown. It says the pigs are mistreated and the event qualifies as illegal animal fighting.

The parish website states "Consideration is taken to ensure that the pigs are safe and free from abuse. After consultation with local authorities, it has been determined that there is no illegality associated with this event. St. Patrick Parish does not condone animal abuse."

Despite the parish's statement, Deacon Ken Bilgrien said calls from opponents have been numerous.

"It's basically put our parish out of business because our phones and emails are down," he said.

Capt. Mike Jobe of the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department said he doesn't expect a large protest at the event Sunday, but deputies will step in if needed. He agreed that the long-standing event hosted by St. Patrick Parish is not illegal.

Global Conservation Group member Jordan Turner said that said they're concerned about the pigs "being punched in the face, kicked, yelled at while they are trying to be put in a barrel."

Bilgrien said that the description of the event is not accurate.

"You gotta get the pig," he said. "This is contrary to what (Global Conservation Group) says on Facebook. We don't put them in a bucket."

The event brings in nearly $3,000 for the church, which plans to use the money for building improvements.


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