4-H Values NOT reflected in pig-wrestling – Whitley County, Indiana (from 2015)

Proud of my husband Don for this letter to the editor, regarding the upcoming pig wrestling (!) event at our local 4-H Fair this summer.

So ashamed that such a cruel activity involving children and animals is occurring in this town where I grew up and still live. Unreal.

This just in! Someone has started a petition – please sign and share here: https://www.change.org/p/whitley-coun…

Learn more about petition efforts to cancel similar events down the road in Muncie, Indiana here and Stephensville, Wisconsin hereOther Nations offers a great overview of how detrimental pig wrestling is to all participants here.


Don’s letter …

Eliminating the pig wrestling event at the Whitley County 4-H Fair 2015

The four values of …

• Head – managing, thinking
• Heart – relating, caring
• Hands – giving, working
• Health – being, living

… are not reflected in the Pig Wrestling Event to be held this summer at the Whitley County 4-H Fair.

The 4-H Vision is “a world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change.” The Pig Wrestling Event does not reflect positive change.

There is a ground swell of media attention decrying pig wrestling events around the country. Our Whitley County 4-H Fair can avoid being swept up in the media blitz and inevitable growing publicity which surrounds the welfare of all participants – be they two-footed or four-footed.

The comments which are being leveled at this event center around the thoughts that pig scrambles (wrestling) teach the wrong lessons. Pig Wrestling teaches our children that it is O.K. to manhandle animals (“Let’s go be mean to pigs!”), to chase them, to scare them, and to hurt them – and it is all in “good fun.” Any veterinarian will tell us that this event causes fear, stress, and undue pain to these docile creatures – and it is clearly abuse.

What alternative events could replace Pig Wrestling? Some suggestions are – human mud wrestling, mud football, bicycle races, art contests, paint ball tag, water gun tag, archery contests, cooking contests – all things that encourage using your talents … not violence.

Our community needs to discuss this topic and take a proactive stance leading the way to eliminate this event from the 2015 Whitley County 4-H Fair. This decision is an opportunity to set an example of compassion and will reflect positively on our Whitley County 4-H Fair.

We are the species with imagination, rationality and moral choice – and that is why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect all living creatures.

Don Sexton
Columbia City, IN


Postscript …

We love this suggestion from pal Jimmy Rhoades …

“You know what would be cool? Every place that cancels the pig wrestling event sets up a (supervised) pet-a-pig booth. Feed a pig a carrot! Snuggle a pig! Scratch a pig behind the ears! Let’s not just deny one experience, let’s replace it with one that will expand empathy for a very cute, very intelligent fellow creature.”

Amen, Jimmy. Amen.


Thanks for this feedback …

Drex Morton: “As a former member of 4-H from my teen years, I applaud your Dad’s envisioning… And the pigs will appreciate not being exploited…”

Roxy Diederich: “Omg…this broke my heart. I’m a farm gal from Wisconsin and have never heard of any organized activity this cruel. And certainly not connected with 4H. Jeesh… Am I just old? And, to add to the credibility of the high intelligence of a pig – I was Moonbeam McSwine in a run of Lil’ Abner (long enough ago that I still filled the costume appropriately!). Well, as part of that job, I was handed a suckling pig and told to ‘train’ it… Her name was Tunie (short for Petunia, of course) and she was incredible; litter trained in a day, drank from a bottle like a baby, slept at the bottom of my bed, was a clean – devoted – obedient little girl, and definitely smart. Within a week I didn’t even need to have her on a leash on stage anymore – she just knew to follow me wherever I went. She was the darling of the production and enjoyed the greatest curtain call accolades. These are loving, feeling, and highly intelligent animals and I can’t believe the abuse is considered acceptable. And yet, turn on the news tomorrow morning and what people are doing to people isn’t any more palatable…”

Pamela Forbus: “I left a post: ‘Pig wrestling gives living, feeling animals no choice, natural inclination, respect or dignity. Animals do not exist for humans to exploit and use for entertainment and frivolous games. Please teach compassion towards animals. Be the change. Thank you.’”

Lisa Lamberth Colvin: “Great letter!! I saved it in case I need to borrow some of his wise words. My town’s school had a donkey riding basketball game last year!! I was appalled and will say something next year if I hear about it. Way to go, Don…people do not think on their own very well critically, and he is helping them!”

Julie Storbeck: “You’re welcome, Roy. And thanks for posting your dad’s letter; there’s nothing fun or funny about terrorizing an animal.”

Coreen Conley: “Thank you to your Dad for standing up and writing a letter against this atrocity!”

Rann DeStefano: “It is awful and totally worthless use of time not to mention cruel.”

Judy Moffet: “Pig wrestling is inhumane!! I urge you to reconsider this event. This is just wrong on so many levels! Pig Wrestling really! Please find a better activity to replace this unacceptable event. Pigs like all animals do not deserve to be treated inhumanely, and this event is very inhumane. I urge you to reconsider.”

Kelly McBride: “As you are probably aware social media reaches very far. I have heard about your event with pig chasing/wrestling in Australia. However you regard a pig as ending up at death on your dinner plate, does not mean it is justified to treat a living animal as produce before hand. It’s up to you and the people that make decisions whether you run (an event) most of us animal lovers would consider cruel…… but if you want to raise funds …… Do you want to be labelled as cruel to animals and given that tag or should you find another way to fund-raise?”

Terry Doran: “Wonderful letter, Don!”

Naida Austin: “Wow! I hope the letter moves the editor as much as it moved me.”

Angel Mariani: “Great job! Shared! Let’s keep this in our prayers.”

Marie Justine Lentz: “I agree that sort of thing is not only outdated but serves no purpose. We as a society should be teaching our children to show compassion to all living creatures. Even the circus is phasing out elephants!”

Marian Patience Harvey: “Please cancel Hogwrestling at your Fair this Year. It is legalized …cruelty, the same as intense confinement of Animals 4-H, Farm Bureau, meat producers support. I am surprised at the blatant contempt for the animals that sustain us at local Hoosier Fairs. Hoosiers 4-Healthy Animal Agriculture urges boycott of any fairs sponsoring this ridiculous event. It is a shame our children are being taught that Animals are ours to do with however we please. Those of us who know hogs, chickens, cows as sentient beings know they are here to help us, teach us….Confined Animal Feeding Operations and smaller, unregulated, CFOs are being expanded despite the fact that adopting a plant based diet is the number one best thing one can do for the earth and the environment. We will protest, and we urge 4-H Fair boycotts throughout the nation. Marian Patience Harvey, RN/Health Educator/Earth and Animal Advocate/Putnam County (stopped Hogwrestling…about 5 years ago…the Christians protested!)”

Wendy Lamont Smith: “Cruelty at its worst, Why can they not wrestle each other….. Cowards!!”

Joelle Sobczak Schade: “Your entire family has been blessed with an incredible talent and you all inspire me with how you use it to advocate positive change in our world! Go Sexton Family!!!!”

Evelyn Avanti: “Wow, what a well-written letter! Kudos to your dad. I hope it’s effective in getting the fair to reconsider. What weird and abusive ideas we humans come up with to amuse ourselves — at other beings’ expense. I doubt any pig considers this to be a fun activity. Shame on we humans. Crossing my fingers this Fair decides to be fair. Just sent them this message: ‘I was disappointed to learn that you will be having ‘pig wrestling’ at your upcoming event. I bet if you ask any pig they would tell you that this is not an enjoyable activity for them, to put it mildly. We should not be teaching children that we have the right to mistreat other sentient beings for the sake of our own amusement. There are plenty of other suitable activities you could do in place of this. How ’bout having humans wrestle each other and leave the pigs out of it? I hope that the Fair decides to be fair to these animals who don’t get a say in the matter. Since they can’t advocate for themselves, I am speaking up on their behalf.’”

Ben Blankenship: “Your dad writes very well; I may steal his article for our local paper.”

Lucy Grant: “Yet another crazy Sexton going off on the good clean fun at the 4H Fair….THANK GOD! Hope your Dad’s letter makes for a change. I am particularly proud that he included so many alternate ideas. They could all play and create and then go to the bar-b-que pig roast…oh dear!”

Love and appreciation for what matters and is beautiful often demand(s) bravery to speak up and defend the innocent and the special among us…exhausting but necessary and rewarding, right? Let’s never stop…not ever! Thanks to all of you for caring about all species in our universe….your voices matter so much…I have great respect for you all!

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