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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019 9:04 am

Attempts to shut down the newly named Bandera Bacon Bash wild hog chasing event and other events like it got ratcheted up last week when probably the most recognized animal rights group in the country urged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to terminate those shows.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, jumped headlong into the heated debate over whether the Bacon Bash and similar events exposed wild hogs to cruel and abusive treatment when it held a San Antonio press conference on Wednesday, April 10, saying it had taken steps to bring an end to those events and to hold those who put on the Bandera show on March 16 responsible for violations that were uncovered.

“Screaming, panicked young pigs were tormented and tortured for a bit of crude fun that should shame everyone associated with it,” a news release quoted PETA’s Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden as saying about the Bacon Bash. “PETA is urging Gov. Abbott to end this disgustingly cruel spectacle and asking every decent person to steer clear of events such as this that abuse animals.”

The group said in the press conference that it not only had appealed to Gov. Abbott to end the Bandera event and other similar events, it had filed a complaint about the local show with the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department and had called on the Texas Animal Health Commission to cite organizers of the event for regulatory violations associated with the handling and transportation of the hogs.

John Di Leonardo, the manager of PETA’s Animals in Entertainment Campaign, sent a letter to the Bandera Bulletin saying two longtime veterinarians had viewed video footage of young pigs and piglets being terrorized while being chased around a pen at the Bacon Bash and both experts reached the same conclusion – “pigs were subjected to unnecessary and unjustifiable pain and suffering, which is prohibited by state law.”

 “If you care about animals, please urge Gov. Abbott to protect them from this violent, cruel spectacle by issuing an executive order banning the Bacon Bash,” the letter said.

Officials with the governor’s office did not respond to inquiries about PETA’s claims and what Abbott’s response would be.

 But officials with both the sheriff’s department and the animal health commission confirmed that they had received PETA’s complaints.

Callie Ward, the commission’s director of communications, said last week that the commission’s investigators were examining claims about how the pigs were moved for the Bacon Bash and other issues raised by PETA that fall within the commission’s authority.

Bandera County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Matt King said on Monday, April 15, that the sheriff’s department had received PETA’s allegations and were in the process of deciding how to handle them.  King said a decision on how to proceed could be made this week.

PETA’s complaint to the sheriff provided deputies with footage of how pigs were chased, tackled, dragged by their hind legs and wounded after ramming into metal fencing in attempts to get away at the bash.

PETA said that conduct showed event staff and contestants “knowingly, intentionally or recklessly tortured pigs – causing them unjustifiable pain and/or suffering.”  The conduct appears to violate the Texas Penal Code provision that prohibits a person from torturing an animal, PETA said.

It also said since the handling of the pigs occurred at an event held to entertain and raise money, not in pursuit of wildlife management practices, it did not qualify for the exemption from prosecution provided by one section of the penal code.

PETA asked the sheriff’s department to investigate the documented conduct “and, as appropriate, file cruelty-to-animals charges.”

The Bacon Bash, after being put on under the name the Bandera Wild Hog Explosion for years and run by the Bandera County Library, was organized last month by the Bandera Wranglers service organization when the library’s board cancelled the Wild Hog Explosion.

The board made that decision when an organization it had retained to run the event backed out in the face of complaints and reportedly personal threats from another animal rights organization called Unparalleled Suffering.

Unparalleled Suffering sent a handful of representatives to protest the event on March 16, but no incidents were reported and the Bacon Bash drew a huge crowd and generated strong revenue, the wranglers said.

The organization said proceeds from the event would benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bandera County.

Brandon Nicholson, vice president of the wranglers, said last week that PETA was not raising new complaints about the handling of animals at the event.  He also rejected claims that the manner in which the hogs were handled constituted cruelty to animals.

The hogs are chased at the event and put in sacks as part of a timed-competition for teams competing for prizes.

The animals are treated much like hog farmers do when they need to separate hogs from the herd for medical treatment or other attention, Nicholson said.

He said the event got its hogs for the show from a rancher who keeps the animals on his land and leases them to shows like the Bacon Bash.  They are well cared for by the rancher before they get to the show and once they are brought to Mansfield Park for the local event, Nicholson said.

Contrary to what had been reported before the Bacon Bash, the animals are not killed after the event.  They are returned to the rancher for other events, Nicholson said.

Despite the criticism from PETA, wrangler’s vice president said the groupo had no plans to change the event next year.  

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Pastor Greg posted at 12:28 pm on Wed, May 22, 2019.

    Pastor Greg Posts: 2

    Looks like the trolls are out in force on this one. The Wild Hog Explosion, now Bacon Bash has a long history here in Bandera and has raised thousands of dollars to support activities for young people here in this community. PETA and thug groups like them love to go into ag towns and communities and use their intimidation tactics to destroy these kinds of events. Bandera a city with a population of 900 or so and a county of only 22,000 is a perfect target for their thuggery and Texas is the new target for all these far left communist based groups to assault. I have two pieces of advice for you. Read up on what a purple painted post means and take your lies and distortions back to the leftist states you have already destroyed. #DontmesswithTexas

  • Lglibras posted at 7:29 pm on Wed, May 15, 2019.

    Lglibras Posts: 1

    Y’all are welcome to come trap them and relocate them. Those sweet things eat livestock, kill off turkey populates and damage property. If I see them, they are dead and out in my freezer.

  • HMOORE123 posted at 12:45 pm on Fri, Apr 19, 2019.

    HMOORE123 Posts: 2

    Must we abuse the entire animal kingdom? Pigs are smart, friendly animals, and there's no reason to exploit them for bacon or entertainment.

  • LucyP posted at 10:50 am on Thu, Apr 18, 2019.

    LucyP Posts: 2

    Terrorizing animals for "fun" is cruel and shameful, and sends a terrible message to impressionable children.

  • CAShapiro posted at 10:44 am on Thu, Apr 18, 2019.

    CAShapiro Posts: 2

    The video doesn't lie. How is abusing animals even remotely entertaining? It's not. This cruel spectacle needs to be shut down.

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