Editorial: Pig chase is cruel, and sends wrong message to kids | March 15, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - March 15, 2017

Editorial: Pig chase is cruel, and sends wrong message to kids

Does an event that allows children to chase down frantically fleeing baby pigs to capture one for a ribbon constitute animal abuse? An equally important question: Do the values imparted to children who participate in such an event reflect the values we want our children to embrace as they find their way in the world?

This story contains 747 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a member, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Membership starts at $12 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Join


Posted by Lorien French
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 15, 2017 at 12:44 am

Wow. Thank you, Almanac, for lending your voice to those of 150 Woodside residents, hundreds of others locally, thirty Peninsula-based veterinarians, educators, and even animal agriculture professionals who see the pig "scramble" for what it is -- an outdated, inhumane activity that does not meet modern farm animal welfare standards. Further, it does not teach children about the proper care, treatment and handling of animals. In fact, it teaches the opposite. The Livestock Committee in Woodside has already gone on record stating that this activity isn't in keeping with current animal welfare standards and now it is up to the Town Council to act. An immediate ban may not be feasible but the Town Council can easily adopt a resolution condemning animal "scrambles" in Woodside. This would carry some weight and underscore that Woodside is a community that advocates for the humane and respectful treatment of all animals - pigs included. (In fact, pigs are highly intelligent, sensitive animals who can solve puzzles and whose behavior exhibits a complex emotional capacity.) Animals give us so much - they deserve our good stewardship and a quality life free of unnecessary stress, suffering and harassment.

Please contact the Woodside Town Council at council.members@woodsidetown.org to support this effort.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2017 at 6:41 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

Time for the Town leaders to say, " No more pig scrambles, or any type of animal scrambles in Woodside!"

Posted by Srini
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

I assume those of you who oppose this event, feel the same way about calf roping at rodeos. I mean, how pathetic is that event?

Posted by Roberto
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Roberto is a registered user.

This was a common practice, but the times have changed in California. Remember when we were kids and we played tag? In Folsom, at Gold Ridge Elementary School, Principal David Frankel sent out a message on Friday saying: “Students were instructed that physical contact including tag games, touch football, etc. were not allowed on the yard.”
Times keep on changing...

Posted by Woodside resident
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm

THANK YOU to the Almanac for this wonderful editorial in support of banning the inhumane, barbaric pig scramble. The jury is NOT out among animal behaviorists, veterinarians, experts in animal husbandry, and even the food production industry, that farm animals deserve humane care; that pigs and other animals, whether they be dogs, cats, horses, or livestock have the ability to feel fear and pain. To inflict this pain for "entertainment" is morally corrupt.
I hope the Woodside Town Council has the moral fortitude to take a stand and move into the 21st century.

Posted by Woodside resident
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm

THANK YOU to the Almanac for this articulate editorial against the pig scramble. I hope the Woodside Town Council has the moral fortitude to ban such scrambles in our town and reflect 21st century humane values toward animals. Whether a dog, cat, horse, pig, or other companion or farm animal, they all deserve to be handled and treated with respect and not abused for the sake of entertainment. Let's lead by example and show our kids that bullying, whether towards people or animals, is not OK.

Posted by Pig Scramble
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Mar 15, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Please stop the Pig Scramble!!!
It is cruel and inhumane!!
Judi Kiel
Woodside resident
Coldwell Banker
650 799-3241

Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

Dear editor: I agree that the pig scramble is cruel and inhumane, sending a message to children that animals are to be used for our amusement, even if it scares them and causes distress.

I wish something would also be done to protect the ducks at the Burgess Park duck pond. I've been observing those ducks for over 10 years when I moved nearby and often walk past the pond. Ten years ago the pond was mostly frequented by wild ducks, with the exception of three permanent resident ducks (perhaps dumped there?), one white and two black and white large ducks that didn't look like the wild ducks. They stood more upright and walked/ran without the ability to fly. I could be wrong, but I think they're in the Indian Runner duck family. The white duck had three ducklings that survived to adulthood, and one of them had twelve ducklings. There are now about 15 offspring from the original three, all of whom share the same traits and cannot fly. These ducks live off of whatever scant food they can find and also from people who feed them. What is disturbing to me, besides that these non-native ducks haven't been removed and continue to multiply, is the way they're treated by children. Whenever I walk by the pond I see a child throwing sticks, rocks, and other objects at the ducks. If they're not throwing objects at them, they're running up to them, forcing them to retreat to the pond. The ducks can't fly away but have to run. The ducks never get a break from being chased or having objects thrown at them throughout the day. Their childrens' parents couldn't care less and I've never heard one of them gently tell their child to respect the animals, to imagine what it would be like to have giants throw stones at them and chase them. These children are also being taught that it's OK to torment animals for amusement. If the ducks could fly to safety it wouldn't be so bad, but those particular ducks (Indian Runner?) can't fly and can only retreat to a very shallow pond for safety.

Parents, please teach your children to respect animals and not treat them as play toys.

Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm

These abusive "scrambles" have been banned from the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Castro Valley since 1986, due to animal welfare concerns. As renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin has written, "In assessing criteria for suffering, psychological stress which is fear stress, should be considered as important as suffering induced by pain." This assuredly applies to these terrified baby pigs. We are better than this.

The scrambles need to go. A county-wide ordinance banning such cruelties is in order, and the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA would be the likely sponsor. Now's the time. An on-line petition has garnered more than 26,000 signatures in support of a ban, and two dozen San Mateo County veterinarians have signed a statement in support of a ban. This is truly a "no-brainer."u8wtQ

Local politicos like Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymember Marc Berman need to take an ethical stand on this issue, too. They need to hear from their constituents.

As Tennessee Williams once wrote, "Cruelty is the only unforgivable sin." Continuing this inhumane practice will only serve to tarnish Woodside's image as a compassionate and caring community.

Eric Mills, coordinator

Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm

As Tennessee Williams once wrote, "Cruelty is the only unforgivable sin."

Let the Woodside Town Council hear from you! These "scrambles" are abusive to the baby pigs, and send a terrible message to impressionable young children about the proper treatment of animals.

WRITE: Mayor Tom Livermore and the Woodside Town Council, Independence Hall, 2955 Woodside Road, Woodside, CA 94062.

EMAIL - council.members@woodsidetown.org

Posted by RWC neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Pigs are very sentient creatures and show significant levels of intelligence. I could barely make it through the first few seconds of the video, thinking of how traumatized these piglets must have been.

If the Mounted Patrol wishes to introduce youngsters to "Western culture", surely there are far more humane and informative methods that will teach children to respect and care for animals, rather than chasing them for sport. I"m especially concerned that this event happens in what I consider a more enlightened part of the country.

As for "American tradition", slavery was once and American tradition. Would the Patrol ever consider holding a mock salve auction as a fundraising event? I think not.

Posted by Kelly
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2017 at 7:19 pm

How is this different from chasing after a dog or puppy? My dog loves to be chased. Dogs bark and pigs squeal? I can't believe we allow children to play tag. It is obvious from their screams that they are traumatized and terrified by the game!

Posted by Kelly Lehman
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2017 at 6:11 am

Hello! I have to say thank you so much for writing this informative article that will help people truly see how sickening these types of events are. I also need to let it be known to everyone that these types of abusive events towards animals must and more importantly CAN be stopped! As you said there has been a wave of these chases/wrestling animal events being shut down across the country. One of our local fairs was holding this "tradition" for 39 years. When I heard about the pig chase happening at the Ephrata Fair, in Ephrata PA, I went to collect footage so I could share it and help spread the word that it needed to be shut down. For over an hour I watched for the first time pigs being tackled and plummeted into the ground over and over again by dozens of screaming children AND adults. I heard the hundreds of people in the crowd surrounding the field laughing and mocking these animals while they screamed out in pure terror and pain. I ended up jumping the fence surrounding the event and speaking out against the abuses I had witnessed. I was arrested immediately and that's when we started our campaign. Because of the footage we took that night and the footage of my arrest that spread like wild, we organized a beautiful campaign against the chase and within a few months the fair removed the animal chases from their schedule. This September will be the second year without that barbaric tradition. Our voices and presence in solidarity are the only thing that will shut down any type of cruelty towards animals. Our campaign and tactics ended up being supported by over 25,000 people from communities across the world. If the pig chase in your area has not yet been removed and you'd like help organizing please feel free to email me. Sadly, while there are still many other cruel activities happening at these fairs, ending animal chases is a great starting point in letting our communities know that we will not stand for abuse posed as "entertainment" and that our traditions must evolve as we do. Thanks again for letting your voice be heard. Kelly Lehman, defend_animals_always@yahoo.com

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.