The 83-year-old Sonoma County Fair next month will not include a favorite event almost as old as the fair itself: children diving in the dirt to capture scampering and squealing piglets.
Instead, children will race against the clock trying to carry a vegetable oil-covered watermelon around an obstacle course, according to media reports.
Fair board members, acknowledging public concern and protests over animal welfare, eliminated the pig scramble from the agenda of agriculture-related contests on Farmers Day.
Fair Board President Rob Muelrath said the decision reflected a “heightened awareness” for humane treatment of farm animals.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” said a 19-year fair board member and Chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee Annette O’Kelley, who noted hot summer weather can be tough on pigs. “We don’t want to see any of the animals get stressed out or hurt.”