WOODSIDE (KPIX) — Squeals, both human and animal, pierced the air on a sunny Fourth of July in Woodside as children under the age of 10 raced to be the first to snatch a running pig by its hind legs.
It’s called the Pig Scramble. Parents say it’s a harmless game but animal rights protesters call it something else — cruelty to animals.
“(It’s) very distasteful … we don’t think it’s right what they are doing to the pigs,” said Belle Stafford, a member of Concerned Neighborhood Citizens.
“I would like them to stop the Pig Scramble. I think there are other forms of entertainment for children,” Terri Ducay added.
The Mounted Patrol of San Mateo puts on the Pig Scramble at the Junior Rodeo in Woodside and a parent we spoke to loves the event.
“If it’s well-supervised and well-managed and pigs don’t truly get hurt, I don’t think it’s cruelty,” said Terry Hicks, whose 9-year-old daughter once won first place in the scramble.
“It’s teaching them that it’s OK to use animals for entertainment, to treat them like toys. And these are live, very intelligent beings,” countered Belle Stafford.
Rodeo organizers say they have listened to the protesters but don’t believe the scramble hurts either the kids or the pigs.
Captain Terry Welcome with the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo told KPIX, “I competed in many Pig Scrambles and it did not teach me to be cruel to animals.”
Protesters and event organizers plan to meet in a couple weeks to see if they can find common ground around the Pig Scramble.