The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, the annual agricultural fair held every March at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, has cancelled its 2022 cruel pig and calf “scrambles”. Animal Justice and the Winnipeg Humane Society, with the support of the Brandon Humane Society, had been opposing these cruel events for some time.
Pig scrambles, also known as “pig wrestling”, generally involve children chasing and tackling terrified pigs for entertainment. In calf scrambles, teenagers run after calves and roughly grab them by their body parts as they fight to remove the animals’ halters. In 2017, Animal Justice helped cancel a pig scramble in PEI they believed violated animal protection laws.
There were allegations that these events contravene the Animal Care Act. A provincial spokesperson told Global News “The proactive decision made by the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba to cancel the calf and pig scrambles at the 2022 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair was based on its own assessment of its ability to comply with the act. As Manitoba is a province with significant livestock production, animal health and welfare is of critical importance for economic growth as the humane treatment of domestic farmed animals is a public trust marker by which agriculture is judged.”
In a blog, Animal Justice said “Animal Justice is thrilled that the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair organizers listened to the concerns of animal protection organizations and the community, and congratulates animal advocates who spoke up for pigs and calves and helped win this amazing victory. Animal Justice is now calling on the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair to permanently cancel its annual pig and calf scrambles for future fairs, just as fairs across Canada have done.”
Brittany Semenuik, an animal welfare specialist with the Winnipeg Humane Society, said to Global News “We really have to start looking at these events from the animals’ perspective and evaluate for ourselves whether or not it is warranted to put an animal through such an amount of distress and discomfort purely for entertainment purposes.”