Lombardy Fair cancels pig scramble for 2017

pig-farm
Posted on: July 13, 2017

April Scott-Clarke
april@pdgmedia.ca 

The Lombardy Fair is striking the pig scramble from its daily events at this year’s fair. The pig scramble has been part of the fair for at least the last four years but pressure from advocacy group Ottawa Farmed Animal Save made the fair organizers reconsider it for 2017.

An online petition against the pig scramble was launched on Sunday, July 9 and by Monday, July 10 Darlene Levecque, the organizer of Ottawa Farmed Animal Save said it already had 1,500 signatures.

Levecque spoke with fair president and volunteer Melanie Chisholm on July 10 and while the conversation was “polite and civil” she said the two ended the conversation agreeing to disagree on the premise of the pig scramble but with Chisholm indicating that the group was considering cancelling. 

“It’s just really disrespectful and it’s teaching kids the wrong thing,” said Anita Krajnc, founder of the umbrella organization Toronto Pig Save. “What we should be teaching them is to show love and compassion, and rescue them when they are in distress and not put them in distress.”

John Joynt, member of the livestock committee and director of the Lombardy Agricultural Society said that the pig scramble was started as a way to draw in those outside the farm community and encourage them to learn more about livestock, farming and rural life. “We weren’t getting the ringside attention because people didn’t understand what we were doing…comparing livestock.”

The fair committee started an educational building several years ago with the intent to bridge the gap between rural and urban. The building hosts things such as sheep shearing demonstrations, honey bee displays and baby chick hatching. “In order to get people into the building we use things like the pig scramble,” he said.

While each fair does their scrambles differently, Joynt explained at Lombardy young pigs are brought into a show ring to run around while children ages 3 to 6 try to touch one. “They aren’t asked to pick a pig up, just a touch and that is considered a catch,” explained Joynt, who is also a past president and has been involved with the Lombardy Fair for 60 years. “Never has a pig been harmed, a few kids have bumped heads, but that’s about it.”

Joynt said that the fair committee decided to cancel the scramble not because organizers feel there is any injustices being done to the pigs but because “our president, who farms successfully and is raising three young daughters…received many harassing calls in the last week or so and we felt she didn’t deserved it.”

Levecque said that Ottawa Farmed Animal Save had demonstrations planned for each day  a scramble was scheduled. She confirmed that since the fair committee has cancelled the event, the demonstrations are also cancelled.

However, Levecque still won’t be paying her admission to get into the fairground and have a look around. “I don’t participate in fairs. I don’t believe in using animals for entertainment. I don’t believe that this is how children should be raised to treat animals,” she said.

Joynt confirmed that last year there were a handful of demonstrators outside the fair gates and felt it didn’t make for a pleasant atmosphere for fair goers.

“In the 60 years I’ve been involved in the fair, I’ve seen a lot of changes and this isn’t one of the better ones,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that these people don’t come to the fair and see how we do it. Our big concern is that if people like these protesters think that all animals should be pets, there will be disappointing times ahead.”

5 thoughts on “Lombardy Fair cancels pig scramble for 2017

  1. Vanessa Compton

    Asking that animals, even those destined for slaughter, be treated humanely and ethically and NOT as entertainment is hardly the same as “people like these protesters think that all animals should be pets.” If tormenting baby animals is “how we do it,” then some people need to rethink their basic values.

    I have raised meat animals and do eat meat (not a lot, and ethically sourced). I have worked in a slaughterhouse, where I have seen how the animals are often treated in transport. Their mangled bodies show signs of abuse. These are usually tossed out by the meat inspector, so there is a financial cost as well as a moral one. Where did the abusive workers learn to treat helpless animals that way?

    I am in favour of the pig scramble cancellation. It’s distressing for the piglets and teaches the kids that they are entitled to “fun” at the expense of others. If farmers really want to educate the rest of us about animal husbandry and the farming cycle, they should follow the example set by the Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The new community garden at the Heritage House site in Smiths Falls could develop a similar operation to provide kids with an ongoing experience of raising animals in a farm setting.

    Four years of this activity is hardly a “tradition.” Maybe Joynt needs to move over and make room for some new ideas about agriculture and community values.

  2. Denise

    FINALLY, THE BIG GREEDY Lombardy Agricultural Fair “DECISION MAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!” SAW THE LIGHT as well as MELANIE CHISHOLM, Board president. These “DECISION MAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!” had to cancel their abusive show.

    I AGREE 100% WITH THE FOLLOWING:
    “I don’t participate in fairs. I don’t believe in using animals for entertainment. I don’t believe that this is how children should be raised to treat animals,” she said.” – Levecque

    THANK YOU TO ALL THE ACTIVISTS WHO WORKED TO CLOSE THIS CRUEL “ENTERTAINMENT” which was TEACHING CHILDREN IT IS O.K. to run after helpless animals “FOR THE FUN OF IT”, catch them and abuse them. THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY IN HURTING ANIMALS.

    THANK YOU TO ALL THE ACTIVISTS FOR HAVING COMPASSION FOR THE ANIMALS and doing something positive about it. GOD BLESS!

  3. Gea Vox

    WE DONE Lombardy Fair Pig Scramble! THIS is leadership! THIS is evolution! THANK YOU to all who campaigned and kept going, even when it looked unlikely they would succeed.

    Compassion is a human quality that should be cultivated,not eroded in young people. You will ALL benefit, as you grow older and frailer, form a population of young people who are not inured to suffering and too self-centered to care… But I guess whether that turns out to be the case or not will be up to ALL of you, ensuring young people learn empathy, not cruelty!

  4. Jan

    Why is an agricultural fair cow-towing to citiot ‘animal rights activists’ who don’t even attend??!!

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