Quebec festival cancels greased pig race that has drawn ire of animal activists

Organizers cancel event to prevent any possible transmission of African swine fever

Boys fall on a pig during the greased pig catching competition Monday, Sept. 4, 2006, at the L’il Spurs Rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa. A small-town Quebec festival has cancelled a controversial race that featured participants trying to grab greased pigs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/The Hawk Eye, Scott Morgan)

A small-town Quebec festival has cancelled a controversial race that featured participants trying to grab greased pigs.

Animal rights groups including the SPCA have long denounced the event in Ste-Perpetue, Que., which featured domestic pigs let loose in a muddy pen and then chased by contestants who had to catch them and toss them into a barrel.

READ MORE: One person arrested at protest at Abbotsford pig farm

But Festival du Cochon director Michel Jutras says the criticism by rights groups isn’t the main reason the festival 150 kilometres northeast of Montreal won’t be hosting its best-known event.

Rather, he says organizers wanted to update the festival for its 42nd edition and prevent any possible transmission of African swine fever, a disease that has been found Europe and is feared by Canadian producers.

Jutras says there won’t be any greased pigs at the festival this year, but there will still be many other forms of entertainment, including what he describes as a “humorous” event featuring wild boars.

He says it’s unclear whether the festival’s namesake animal will be back in future years.

The Canadian Press

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