2018 FIFA World Cup Fan Guide ⚽
Where to watch FOX6 News, Real Milwaukee during World Cup Soccer ⚽

Pig rassle event is held as protesters from across the country look on, PETA calls for its cancellation

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

STEPHENSVILLE (WITI) -- PETA and others were calling for the event to be cancelled -- saying it's inhumane. But on Sunday, August 10th, St. Patrick Parish held its "pig rassle" event. The event brought in people from across the country, despite its controversy.

This year’s roundup at St. Patrick Parish included more than just pigs. Dozens of protesters were also present.

“This has been our tradition for 44 years. This is our big draw for our parish picnic. If we don't have the pig rassle down here, we don't hardly see any people come to our church," Pig Rassle Co-Chairman Bruce Learman said.

Once a group is put into the ring, they're given one pig. After that, the wrestlers have 45 seconds to round up the pig and place it on top of a barrel.

"Tradition is no excuse for cruelty," Global Conservation Group President Jordan Turner said.

The Global Conservation Group is a Milwaukee-based animal rights group. Last week, Turner started an online petition to cancel the event.

“The petition received just over 60,000 signatures," Turner said.

Turner says in the pig rassle event, the animals are being abused.

"Pigs are being body slammed and put in a barrel. That's pretty cruel to me," Turner said.

"If there is any cruelty, anything here at all, everything will get stopped immediately," Pig Rassle Co-Chair Pay Rynish said.

Spectators in the stands cheered while protesters held up signs in the distance.

"This is a 'go vegan' sign. There is no difference really between, in my view, a cat and a pig. We're all sensual beings deserving of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Charles Frey of Houston, Texas said.

Those near the pig pen on Sunday said this is just a playful game.

"You can basically look at a pig and it'll squeal. I think they're well-monitored and they're watching them. I really don't think that they're being harmed at all," Tara Everts said.

Perhaps the pigs, parishioners and protesters will have to agree to disagree.

"It's very abusive. The pigs are squealing. They're in pain. They're scared," Tracie Brannan of Milwaukee said.

"They keep them all safe and we're all good," Paul Gostas said.

The church says it plans to hold the event again next year.

Organizers say the event usually helps to raise around $3,000 for the parish.

Related stories:


  • Adam Steinberg

    As churches continue to promote cruelty to animals, little boys and lay claim to holding the ONLY path to God, we are only left to pray for these transgressors , as they know not the terror and disease they sow!

  • lynn

    No,it’s not a playful game! You are “people of God” who mock God’s Creation, by collecting money to inflict trauma for your entertainment! With blood on your hands.

  • Cathy dewey

    Linda I’m so sorry, I hit comment to stick up for you after that person replied and didn’t realize I was reporting it. Ugh. This is all so sick. There are so many Bible verses against this monstrous behavior. They are going against Gods will in doing this. Such a shame.

    • Jan Fredericks, President, God's Creatures Ministry

      Confession to God for not being compassion and protective to His animals. WI is a big dairy state. If the Church is the light in the world, then they should be stopping the abuse to God’s creatures. We will be held accountable. They don’t know the Bible or it seems don’t know God’s will on earth as it is in heaven as it is prayed daily.

  • Hewy

    So going by your logic it should only count as abuse if the pig is physically harmed? Clearly you haven’t even considered the phycological effects of the sport. Do you actually believe that the pig is oblivious to what is happening around it? Do you think the pig knows that it is the centre of a game? Do you ultimately imagine the pig actually enjoying the game? Have you no empathy? Why should these creature be bullied and humiliated for null-minded entertainment. Actually ask yourself what is the need for a pig being involved?
    As for your children comment, why can’t people be against both. Surely there shouldn’t even be a difference in definition: A poor innocent creature being abused or attacked for a totally unjust reason…
    Maybe try considering the perceptions and feelings of another creature before you force it to play a cruel game along side barbarians. If someone is capable of torturing an animal then why is it considered wrong to be capable of torturing a human? Everything is linked and this example is just one of a million small dots that make up that black hole.

  • amazed@net.net

    “This has been our tradition for 44 years. This is our big draw for our parish picnic. If we don’t have the pig rassle down here, we don’t hardly see any people come to our church,” Pig Rassle Co-Chairman Bruce Learman said. OH Yes, if they start showing cock fights, organize some livestock sacrifice and finally publicly burn some witches – this should draw even bigger, thicker (in all possible senses) crowds. Make your church attractive by doing something NICE! What a sweet little parish from nightmares. I hope everybody who enjoyed this display of inquisition have purchase enough indulgences for themselves…

  • jenniffer

    A church held this event? In what religion is this acceptable? as far as I know every living creature deserves to be treated with respect. This type of church disgusted me and will never be part of it.

  • Teya

    Perhaps next year, instead of using pigs, the contestants can choose one from their group to play the “pig”. Their arms & feet can be bound to make it even more entertaining. Then they can only squirm and squeal (most likely in delight). Perhaps then that “pig” will learn compassion & understanding. The following year, another person can take on the role. Eventually, everyone will have had an opportunity and everyone will have learned compassion. Sounds like a plan to me.

  • Tahler Thacker

    I just watched YouTube video where pigs screamed in terror as they were clamped into headlocks, tackled, and dragged at the church fundraiser. It’s horrible. Why don’t the men “rassle” each other? I believe there’s a special place in hell for those that abuse or mistreat animals.


  • Mary Lou

    This entire church and it’s members should be shut down. What a bunch of back-water idiots. “We don’t hardly see anyone coming to our church” …you don’t hardly?? Right there is the perfect example of the kind of mental midgets that would hold this sort of idiotic animal torture. Why didn’t those stupid guys just wrestle each other around in the mud? At least they would know why it was happening to them. It sickened me to watch what they were doing and “enjoying” hurting and frightening the poor pig. I hope God brings sanity upon them is some way that stops these disgusting events. Poor, poor helpless animals. God forgive us for their suffering. :(

  • Carl

    The participants will alll burn in hell for this. God didn’t create animals so that we could hurt them for “fun”.

    “Love your neighbour as yourself” doesn’t apply just to humans.

  • John Doe

    I hope someone brings a gun next year and kills the humans involved. Kill a human win a prize and help solve human over population.

  • E Nice

    How horrible that church leaders would abuse these innocent terrified animals that God lovingly created. It just shows the leaders ignorance and greed. Their positions of authority should be abolished because creating publicity through cruelty is NO GAIN AT ALL!

  • Mickey

    This shows you that the church is behind most pain and suffering. It’s a gimmick to control the weak-minded. OBVIOUSLY! The uneducated are so easy to control. Look at Hitler.

  • Annie McQueen

    Colossians 3:23
    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…
    If this is working heartily for the Lord I want no part of the Lord for that ‘religion’ and will never darken the door to their ‘church’.
    Cruel and senseless.

  • Dale Cresswell

    As a Christian and police officer for 26 years I am appalled by this church’s cruelty to animals. I find it very concerning and would like to know what exactly this church is preaching to its followers. According to Co-Chairman Bruce Learman this is the only bring draw that brings people to their church. “This has been our tradition for 44 years. This is our big draw for our parish picnic. If we don’t have the pig rassle down here, we don’t hardly see any people come to our church,” Pig Rassle Co-Chairman Bruce Learman said.

    Why don’t you try preaching the gospel that states “do unto others as you would have them to unto you” This includes other forms of life such as animals. Pray to God for a revival for your church, stop this event and confess this cruelty to God and ask for His forgiveness. These are God’s creatures that you are harming and it does not please Him. Maybe then you will have God’s blessing and your church will grow as the Bible wants you too. Being cruel to animals is not a way to lead people to Jesus. To others that read this please do not blame Jesus for some misguided people. Jesus died on the cross for all creation. Please stop this barbaric game that does nothing but turn people away from your church.

    Thank you for your consideration.

Comments are closed.