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Pig wrestling still on menu at county fairs

Delaware County cancellation proves to be exception, not the rule

After an early success, a push by animal rights groups to ban pig wrestling at Indiana county fairs appears to be losing steam.

The Delaware County Fair Board voted in May to cancel pig wrestling at this month's fair after five years. But at least five other fairs have moved forward.

An electronic petition drive on zeroed in on Whitley County and collected 23-thousand signatures, but the event took place as planned Monday night. The Monroe and Allen County fairs will follow suit next Wednesday.

Allen County Fairgrounds chairman Jerry Hammon says nearly all the Whitley County petitions were from out of state, while 500 area residents signed petitions urging the fair to continue the event. And he says Allen County's event hasn't drawn nearly as much opposition.

About 40 four-person teams signed up for Allen County's pig wrestling event last year. Teams are separated into age divisions starting at ages 10-to-13, and have 45 seconds to get a pig to touch a goal on top of a barrel.

Hammon dismisses activists' charges that the event is cruel to animals. He says Allen County's supplier trains pigs specifically for wrestling. And he says anyone with hog-farming experience would know that trying to get a pig to go where you want it to is a reflection for the real-life wrestling that takes place in the barnyard.

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