Attorney Carlos Gamino has an affinity for household pets, and he’s always following Wisconsin news that relates to animals. Here’s his quick take on the recent Roundup Days “Pig Rassling” event in Stephensville, a small town near Appleton.
With recent events in Stephensville pointing toward possible animal cruelty lawsuits over pig wrestling, several questions are swirling around Appleton and the rest of the state. Is pig wrestling animal cruelty? People have been doing it for decades. If it is, is Wisconsin tough enough on animal cruelty?
A Look at Wisconsin’s Animal Cruelty Laws
Wisconsin has animal cruelty laws in place, but it’s going to be up to a court to interpret whether pig wrestling fits the bill. The closest things we have say that “No person may own, possess, keep or train any animal with the intent that the animal be engaged in an exhibition of fighting” and “No person may intentionally be a spectator at a… fight between the same or different kinds of animals or between an animal or a person.”
According to allegations leveled by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Global Conservation Group and SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness), footage of the pig wrestling event in Stephensville shows an injured pig trying desperately to get away from participants. There are fifteen minutes of secretly recorded video that depicts the pigs being dropped from several feet in the air as well as pigs exhibiting symptoms of stress that frequently lead to heart attacks.
Where Do We Draw the Line?
“If this were happening to a cat or a dog, not one person would be cheering it on,” said animal activist Corinne DiLorenzo, who helped capture the footage.
That’s true. Many of us tend to think that pets and livestock are in two separate categories, but recent television spots and billboards around Milwaukee are encouraging residents to report cruelty to any type of animal. (While animal cruelty isn’t the primary focus of the campaign, it does serve a very valid purpose.)
Will a judge feel the same way, or will the organization’s 44-year-old tradition stand?
I’d love to hear your take on whether this is animal cruelty or whether it’s an age-old tradition that should be allowed to continue. Feel free to spark the debate on your Facebook page, too!
P.S. In case you were wondering, all 37 pigs that were part of the Roundup Days event were slaughtered when it was over.