Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/7/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2016
Universal:
Sports: That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.
Evangelization: Living the Gospel: That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor.



Comments


More Green

You'll never believe what Obama did in Hawaii! Watch

Image of A Hawaiian island's territory has just been expanded by the President of the United States.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

US President Barack Obama has just quadrupled the size of Papahānaumokuākea, Hawaii territory - but why? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The island of Papahānaumokuākea, pronounced "Pa-pa-hah-nou-mo-koo-ah-keh-ah," is a Marine National Monument ... continue reading


WATCH NOW! Two-for-one special on adorable newborn pandas Watch

Image of Giant Panda surprises zookeepers with twins (Tiergarten Sch?nbrunn/SWNS).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One Giant Panda mother surprised zookeepers by giving birth to twins! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When zookeepers at Austria's Schönbrunn Zoo, also called "Vienna Zoo," discovered Giant Panda Yang Yang was pregnant, they were ecstatic.<a ... continue reading


How to see a Catholic meteor shower this week Watch

Image of The Perseids peak on Aug 11-12. Up to 200 per hour may be visible.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Later this week, you will have the chance to view a Catholic meteor shower. The Perseids, also known as "the tears of St. Lawrence," peak this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Perseids are a Catholic meteor shower. This means they are closely associated ... continue reading


Unexpected heroes of the sea - 'Observers were clearly puzzled' Watch

Image of Humpback whales fight orcas to the death.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Researchers are baffled by humpback whale behavior after the usually friendly giants begin rescuing animals from orcas. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Marine ecologist Robert Pitman witnessed a pod of killer whales hunting a Weddell seal in Antarctica back in ... continue reading


Mystery 15 Year Quake Drought Raises Stakes In Cascadia MegaQuake Fears Watch

Image of Are we prepared for a major quake?

By Tony Johnson

In 2006, geologists feared the worst - they believed a megathrust earthquake was imminent in the Pacific Northwest.  Now in 2016, the Pacific Northwest may be revealing an alarming pattern of missing earthquakes in the same megathrust region that generates ... continue reading


Greenland just lost ONE TRILLION tonnes of ice Watch

Image of Researchers survey melting on Greenland.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Greenland is melting faster than expected, as new data reveals. The ESA's Cryosat satellite has revealed Greenland lost over a trillion tonnes of ice between 2011 and 2014. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Greenland has lost over a trillion metric tons (tonnes) ... continue reading


Why does ExxonMobil continue to spend millions on climate denial? Watch

Image of Exxon has been caught funding climate denial think tanks. That's not how science is supposed to work.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

ExxonMobil spent more than $2 million on climate science denial in 2015, records reveal. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ExxonMobil says it believes in climate change. Its executives probably believe it too, after all, they're smart people. But their profits ... continue reading


WE CAN FEED THE WORLD but choose to throw it away: Shocking truth behind U.S. waste Watch

Image of Food waste in the United States is estimated to be between 30-40 percent (sustainablog).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The United States faces accusations of wasting enough food to put an end to hunger and increasing methane-producing landfill waste. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, the United States' food ... continue reading


Can you hear 'The Hum?' Only 2 percent of people can hear this mysterious sound (AUDIO) Watch

Image of Only 4 percent of the matter in the universe is directly observable.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two people out of every hundred can hear it. It's a strange, low grade humming noise coming from the Earth itself. They can't get away from it, they can't make it stop. And nobody knows why it's there. The call it "the hum" and it is one of the planet's most enigmatic ... continue reading


Scientists found a 1,700 mile crack across the USA. Here's what you need to know Watch

Image of Quakes can happen almost anywhere.

By Tony Johnson (California Network)

Is America at risk for Great earthquakes spanning across the full United States?  "Cracks Across America", in Rift zones, may conceal large fracture type faults where scientists may not be able to identify where these hidden fractures may unleash catastrophic ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up and tell them all I ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put to ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:17-29
17 Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 29th, 2016 Image

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know ... Read More