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Parish cancels pig wrestling competition after backlash

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/23/15

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In Wisconsin: 

St. Patrick Parish in Stephensville has called off its decades-old annual pig wrestling event following animal cruelty accusations. It is instead planning a new competitive game, a “human foosball tournament in the mud,” the Outagamie County Catholic parish said Tuesday. “After much prayer and many hours of discussion, we realize that what we had for 44 years in the Original Pig Rassle was memorable, legal and great family fun,” a statement posted on the parish’s website reads. “We also realize that our parish and diocesan talents could be better spent in areas that are less controversial. It is with great regret that we have discontinued the Original Pig Rassle, we are however, very excited to begin this new tradition at St. Patrick Parish.” The Outagamie County Catholic parish said this year’s “Roundup” event, scheduled for Aug. 8 and 9, would feature a Mass, polka band, dinner parade and the new human foosball tournament. “We’re really excited about this new event,” Deacon Ken Bilgrien said. “We’re just looking forward to the new opportunities.” The parish held its last pig wrestling event in August, even amid protest after more than 81,000 people signed an online petition expressing concerns for the animals’ well-being. Among those outraged by the event were celebrities, including singer Shirley Manson, who said, “Wisconsin has a special place in my heart since my band Garbage got its start there. We are better than this unnecessary and abusive activity.”

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