September 27th, 2008 by admin
Alachua County, which includes the City of Gainesville and the University of Florida, has an excellent ordinance prohibiting diving horse events, goldfish swallowing and “pig contests wherein the object is the capture of the pig.” The ordinance had previously banned “greased pig contests,” but the annual Hawthorne Hog Festival had got around the ban by not greasing the pigs.
Last year, the county commission updated the ordinance to clarify that pig chasing contests are prohibited, regardless of whether the pig is covered in grease or not. Pigs were safe in Alachua County . . . or so we thought.
Earlier this month the City of Hawthorne passed its own ordinance specifically allowing pig chasing. Hawthorne Vice Mayor John Martin explained, “We just felt it was in keeping with our rural roots and that it was the right thing to do.” The legal questions about whether or not the city can create laws that conflict with the county’s are still being debated, but it looks like the “Hog Chase” will go ahead during this year’s festival on October 11.
During previous pig chasing events in Hawthorne, dozens of children ages 4-12 chased, grabbed and pulled at terrified pigs in a baseball field. Alachua County Animal Services Director David Flagler defended the county’s position in the Gainesville Sun, “As much fun as this is for people engaged in that type of family recreation, it can be a terrifying experience for these poor animals.”
You Can Help
Please contact the Hog Fest and the City of Hawthorne and urge them to find an alternate activity that is fun for children but doesn’t put animals in harm’s way.
Heather Surrency, Director, Hawthorne Hog Fest
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: (352) 317-3995
City of Hawthorne
Mayor Deloris Roberts - email@example.com; Phone: (352) 481-2432
Vice Mayor John Martin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Patricia Bouie - email@example.com
Commissioner Mike Rutledge - firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Eleanor “Kit” Randall - email@example.com