Cruel Chicken Toss and Pig Chase Happen Again


The promoters of Wisconsin’s Ridgeland Pioneer Days’ “Chicken Toss” continue to flaunt senseless cruelty against animals occurring at their annual festival. To add to the disappointment, Ridgeland’s sheriff scoffed at animal advocates’ efforts to end the blatant abuse of birds who are thrown off of rooftops into the crowd below.

Wisconsin’s Ridgeland Pioneer Days’ “Chicken Toss.” Images via In Defense of Animals.

Amy Leinan of Rooster Redemption, an ethically responsible rooster sanctuary based in Minnesota, reported on the madness and cruelty of this year’s festival, which occurred on February 15, 2020. Leinan wrote of panicked chickens whose mouths gaped in distress, birds who were held upside down by their feet, and others whose bodies were tightly gripped by humans so they could not escape.

The people who caught the terrified chickens as they crashed down from above laughed as they ridiculed animal advocates and said they were taking them home to be killed. After the taunting, some participants said they would let the animal advocates take the birds. A boy who surrendered his chicken to activists wept when his mother ordered him to take the chicken back. The birds suffer long before they are thrown into a raucous crowd. Chickens are native to balmy climates and endured frostbite. Some had scaly mite bitten legs and feet, and one had a tumor on one of his wattles, which are elongated lobes of skin hanging off the lower side of a chicken’s head.

Yet another horrifically cruel event facilitated at the festival is the greased pig wrestling contest, which is equally as brutal and unnecessary as the chicken toss. This gruesome event features innocent and terrified pigs who are covered in grease, chased, and wrestled to the ground.

Chicken survivors & Dunn County Sheriff Bygd. Images via In Defense of Animals.

Amy Leinan reported that Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd called United Poultry Concerns a “terrorist organization” in an exchange with a member of Milwaukee Animal Save. These are just some of the stories of torment, mockery, and despair that compassionate activists endured as they tried to save the lives of innocent chickens and pigs.

While reports of ignorant brutality inflicted upon helpless animals are heartbreaking, we must remember that together we can create a more compassionate world for animals by choosing to leave them off of our plates and refusing to participate in activities that harm and exploit them. 

Featured image: another greased pig chasing contest, in this case in Houston, Indiana. Image credit Ken Ratcliff, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 valued supporters and a 30-year history of protecting animals, people and the environment through education, campaigns and hands on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi. Our main headquarters are established in San Rafael, California. Click to see author's profile.

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