Lombardy Fair felt pressured to cancel pig scramble

Organizers with the Lombardy Fair have cancelled the annual pig scramble after pressure from animal rights activists.

“I’m disappointed that we have these people who aren’t well enough aware of what’s happening, protesting and creating problems for other people,” said John Joynt, director of the Lombardy Agriculture Society.

In a statement posted online Joynt said “we are not taking this action because we are threatened by this group … but rather because we don’t want our fair-goers to have to deal with the stress of meeting demonstrators at our fair entrance.”

A pig scramble is a when a group of young pigs are placed inside a pen with a group of children who chase them around.

But animal rights groups like Ottawa Farmed Animals Save (OFAS) and Toronto Pig Save (TPS) claim the event is traumatizing for the animals – starting an online petition to stop the event at the Lombardy Fair.  

The group wrote “Toronto Pig Save and its supporters have a hard time understanding why people are still continuing with this type of event. Animals are not here to entertain us or be chased by children.”

The petition had gathered more than 5,000 signatures.

Joynt, a farmer and animal lover, said in no way were the animals being injured.

“Livestock breeders and farmers in general are very concerned about the welfare of their animals because they depend upon their well-being for their livelihood.”

He went on to write “the baby pigs are also very disappointed because this is the only opportunity they have to get out of their pen and romp around with the kids from the time they are born until they go for slaughter at 5 months old.”

Joynt admits the comments, which are being scrutinized online, were based on emotion.

The Lombardy Fair will take place August long weekend. Joynt said there will be animals on sight for educations demonstrations, but there will not be any pigs present.