MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Local officials have decided to remove hog wrestling as an event at the Delaware County Fair after online petitioners complained that the event was cruel.
Fair board members decided in a split vote to cancel the annual event during an angry and sometimes emotional Wednesday night meeting, the (Muncie) Star Press reported. The board members said they may try an online crowd-funding effort to raise the $12,000 that will be lost by ending the event.
Hog wrestling had been revived in the past seven years, and officials said as many as 100 teams participated.
Thousands signed an online petition, which spurred the push to cancel the hog wrestling, but those in attendance Wednesday pointed out that many of the petitioners weren’t necessarily from Delaware County.
“We need to do what is good for our community and our (4-H) Kids,” veteran fair volunteer John Wright said before the vote. “I’m not sure it’s worth the fight.”
But others argued against cancelling the event, including James Mansfield, a fair volunteer who works for the Muncie Visitors Bureau.
“If we bow down to these threats,” he said, “where does it stop?”
Although none of the protesters showed up at the meeting, board members were concerned that picketers could show up at the fair, which starts in mid-July, if hog wrestling continued as planned. The officials also considered whether the event was cruel due to the possibility of the animals being stressed of injured.