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Pig Rodeo: Fun-Loving Tradition Or Animal Cruelty?

WOODSIDE (KPIX 5) -- A pig scramble in San Mateo County is being called a great tradition by some, and animal cruelty by others.

A "pig scramble" is causing quite the stir in Woodside.

The battle lines are drawn. On one side: those who want to maintain a long-standing tradition.

Victor Aenlle is Patrol Captain with the San Mateo County Mounted Patrol. He said, "I think this is just lack of tolerance and disrespect for people's rights."

And on the other are those who want to respect animal rights.

Jennifer Gonzales with the Committee For Humane Woodside said, "It's obviously abusive, cruel, inhumane."

The mounted patrol has hosted the Fourth of July pig scramble, where young kids are let loose to try and capture baby pigs, for decades.

Gonzales said, "These are children who at school are taught all these things: you don't bully, you treat people and animals with respect. Complete opposite."

A neighborhood organization is working to put this tradition to an end.

But the mounted patrol says they will fight to keep this tradition.

Aenlle said, "We've been doing this rodeo for 40 years and there has not been once incident where a pig has been hurt or killed."

But to that, Gonzales says, "I say that's dishonest…every single one of them is terrified and traumatized."

The mounted patrol says the pig scramble is its biggest event of the year drawing hundreds of kids and their families.

"It's a very healthy environment, they all have a good time if you look at the videos that have been taken the kids are smiling,"

Aenlle said.

But Gonzales said, "When you put animals in that situation to be terrorized by children, there's nothing nice about it."

The two sides will duke it out at next week's town council meeting. The committee hopes the town will make a resolution to stop any animal scrambles.

But scramble or not, Aenlle says the baby pigs in this event are sold within a week for slaughter.

But that doesn't matter to the committee.

Gonzales said, "I think we owe it to every living creature to treat it as kindly as we can and if it's going to be killed for food, that can be done as quickly and humanely as a possible."

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