Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/7/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pastor of St. Patrick's parish in Stephensville, WI, has not commented on pig wrestling event despite public controversy.

An incredible commotion is brewing around a parish church in Stephensville, Wisconsin where activists have targeted a 44-year-old event that they say is cruel to animals. St. Patrick's Church holds an annual pig wrestling event were pigs are allegedly wrestled and placed into a bucket.

It is very likely this is a distressing event for the animal and while it may have been viewed favorably in the past, such activities are increasingly frowned upon today. The lack of statement from the parish is disconcerting. (Image via Jordan Turner.)

It is very likely this is a distressing event for the animal and while it may have been viewed favorably in the past, such activities are increasingly frowned upon today. The lack of statement from the parish is disconcerting. (Image via Jordan Turner.)

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/7/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: St. Patrick's, Stephensville, Wisconsin, pig wrestling


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Patrick's parish church in Stephensville, WI has become the target of animal activists over an annual pig wrestling event which has been held for 44 years. The event has come to the attention of activists who claim the event is cruel to animals and inconsistent with Christian values.

The event is planned for this weekend, and it involves a muddy fenced pen, into which several wrestlers may enter to face off against a chosen pig. According to the local NBC affiliate, which interviewed event organizer, Glenn Handel, "Anywhere from two to five or six people will get into the ring. We'll size a hog accordingly."

Save Iraqi Christians from genocide. Act now.

Catholic Online wanted to reach out to the parish for comment by calling the parish office, however an initial call was immediately disconnected and subsequent calls were to a busy line. The parish priest, who must be fully aware of the controversy, has reportedly dodged all requests for comment at a time when comment and leadership are critical.

Other contacts we have networked with on the story report similar results.

This is unacceptable behavior for a parish priest. Period.

The brief comments made by Handel and shared via a local report are insufficient and do not explain the Church's position on this issue.

Regardless of the legal nature of the activity, or the moral implications, the fact that this has created such a public controversy is a leadership moment for the priest and the diocese. Why not accept questions or issue a statement?

Catholic Online also contacted the office of the diocese of Green Bay and left a voicemail message with their department of communications requesting a statement.

Our questions include:

What does the event fund or support?

How does it work?

What happens to the animals?

Has a participant, or animal ever been injured?

Another question, one which will probably go unanswered, why is the parish being singled out for an event that happens regularly across the country at county fairs and other public venues?

An answer to these questions, as well as a brief discussion of how this event fits into overall Catholic instruction, is an opportunity for the Church to demonstrate moral leadership. A non-statement simply makes the parish appear as if it is shirking its responsibility to the public, which has legitimate questions.

Catholic moral teaching on the subject may be narrow, although there may be additional instruction on the issue of which we have not been informed (comments are welcome).

There is no clear teaching on the issue of animal cruelty, or how animals should be treated in general. Certainly Pope Francis has critiqued the decision of some people to keep pets rather than children. So what is clear is that humans outrank animals in the order of things, but this is not to say that animal abuse should be tolerated.

Although animals do not have rights as humans do, cruelty to animals should be avoided, especially when it is senseless. The 19th century Catholic theologian, Cardinal Tommaso Zigliara explained, "When, therefore, man, with no reasonable purpose, treats the brute cruelly he does wrong, not because he violates the right of the brute, but because his action conflicts with the order and the design of the Creator (Philosophia Moralis, 9th ed., Rome, p. 136 - via New Advent)."

Medieval theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas previously expressed concern that people who treat animals cruelly would be more inclined to do the same to humans.

Without a statement from the parish, it is difficult to fully assess the event and its moral implications, however the complete silence on the issue via the parish priest is worthy of criticism, even if the event were fully consistent with the law and Catholic moral instruction.

It must be noted that the essence of such an event --what makes an event entertaining for the public, is the distress that the animal feels at being pursued and manhandled into a bucket. Although the event has been enjoyed for 44 years, this is not justification that it is without cruelty.

Something about this screenshot doesn

Something about this screenshot doesn't feel right.


Presently, Jordan Turner, President of Global Conservation Group Inc., has urged the public to sign a petition against the event which has over 8,000 signatures. The petition suggests that such an event in inconsistent with Christian values and ethics. His organization is asking the church to find more humane activities that don't involve harming animals.

Turner explained in an Examiner.com article that the event may violate Wisconsin's law against cruelty to animals and that, "pigs are punched in the face, kicked, body-slammed, jumped on, yelled at and thrown into a bucket."

Unfortunately, it is impossible, from a Catholic perspective to fully evaluate the activity without more information, particularly from those involved in it. Of course what the pigs face this weekend may not be much worse than what we subject pigs to on a regular basis, given their use in our diet, which many also claim is a use fraught with cruelty. Given this likely fact, is the St. Patrick's event that much worse?

Well, one answer is to say that one cruelty never justifies another.

Catholic Online is still awaiting responses from the Diocese of Green Bay as well as St. Patrick's parish. We will update you when those responses arrive.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

Scientists make odd discovery: Earliest snakes had feet and ankles Watch

Image of The earliest ancestors of snakes may have retained feet and ankles as late as 20 million years ago.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study published in the science journal BMC Evolutionary Biology has revealed a startling fact about the ancestors of modern snakes, suggesting that the reptiles may have evolved from creatures that had feet and ankles around 128 million years ago on the ... continue reading


Unexpected find in Washington may be last of its kind Watch

Image of This is the group of dinosaurs the Tyrannosaurus Rex is associated with.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When an inter-tidal rock was found in the Sucia Island State Park in Washington State back in 2012, its discoverers had no idea that it would create or cause such excitement and hype. Embedded in the rock is a 17-inch bone fragment, that could not be immediately ... continue reading


DEVASTATING photos show humanity's destruction of Planet Earth Watch

Image of This bird ate too much plastic trash and died, revealing its unnatural diet upon decomposition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's rapid expansion as the global population increases is taking its toll on the environment. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution, hunting of endangered species and strip mining are running rampant worldwide. A series of shocking photographs now ... continue reading


TOO SOON? Canonization of Mother Teresa next year only hypothetical, Vatican says Watch

Image of There had been reports in the Italian press that Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who worked among the poorest of the poor, would be canonized before the end of the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In spite of various published reports that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata will be canonized on September 4, 2016, the Vatican says that this remains hypothetical. "It is a working hypothesis, therefore there is no official confirmation to be given," Vatican representative ... continue reading


2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse Watch

Image of Land-based glaciers that have also started to slide faster toward the sea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and those polar ice caps keep right on melting. Things have deteriorated so badly - especially the Larsen B ice shelf, that scientist now fear the entire Antarctica ice shelf will collapse by the end of this decade, in ... continue reading


Raining spiders? Large areas of Australia covered in spider webs Watch

Image of Baby spiders

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The worst news for spider haters in Australia and around the globe: a natural migration phenomenon where baby spiders are flying is possible and has recently happened in the southern part of Australia. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Referred to as "Angel ... continue reading


HONEY HOLOCAUST: Forty percent of all beehives died in the past year Watch

Image of Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin all saw more than 60 percent of their hives die since April of last year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is an alarming figure that may speak of a silent, ecological disaster. According to a federal study, more than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The survey reports that the worst die-off ... continue reading


Recreating Dinosaurs: Using chicken embryos, scientists learn how dinosaurs got 'snouts' Watch

Image of The team's aim was to understand how the bird beak evolved, because the beak is such a vital part of bird anatomy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An asteroid, crashing into the Earth 65 million years ago, is thought to have caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. A group of dinosaurs managed to survive, and is thought to have evolved into modern-day birds. That theory has been around since the 19th Century. ... continue reading


Catfish surprisingly climbs wall and stuns scientists Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inside a cave near Tena in Ecuador, a group of scientists filmed a catfish climbing up the wall to lick food from the roof. Climbing seems impossible for fishes, but evidence of an actual video showing an armored catfish making its way up the cave wall presents a new ... continue reading


Climate change to cause animal extinction in next century Watch

Image of New Zealand's tuataras will be one of the species affected by climate change.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the next century or so, one in six species of plants and animals are likely to be extinct in South America, New Zealand, and Australia. Species in North America are at a lower risk of being extinct. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to a study ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 2:1-11
1 When Pentecost day came round, they had all met ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
1 Bless Yahweh, my soul, Yahweh, my God, how great ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:19-23
19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
3 Because of that, I want to make it quite clear to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2015 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotlandís virtuous queen, (Saint) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter