Wheaten Mather was enjoying a day at the Iowa State Fair when he saw something that horrified him. A young boy was beating his pig in the face with a show stick. A show stick is a small, lightweight whip used to guide pigs and livestock in show rings.
Was the Fair Unfair?
Mather filmed the incident and contacted authorities at the fair. What happened next isn’t clear. Mather admits that he became agitated.
The fair’s director accused Mather of being “threatening” and banned him from the fair for life.
Difficult to Watch
Mather posted the footage on his Facebook page with warning that, “This is a difficult video to watch and a difficult video for me to post.”
Although Mather received a lot of support from fellow animal lovers, he also faced criticism from a few people.
What Is Painful to a Pig?
These people pointed out that pigs are very thick-skinned and that using a show stick is an acceptable way to get a stubborn pig to move.
Guides from the 4H, however, recommend using a light touch with a show stick and never hitting pigs on the face.
The animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also intervened.
“It is shameful that the Iowa State Fair sanctioned the good Samaritan who spoke out against whipping a crying pig and didn’t take allegations of animal abuse seriously,” the organization said in a statement.
PETA has offered a $5000 reward for information about the pig or his owner.