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Royal Manitoba Winter Fair Pig & Calf Scrambles Violate Animal Cruelty Laws, Say Animal Protection Groups

WINNIPEG—The Winnipeg Humane Society and national animal law organization Animal Justice are calling on the organizers of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and law enforcement authorities to cancel planned pig and calf scrambles at this year’s Winter Fair. The groups say the pig and calf scramble events likely violate federal and provincial animal cruelty laws and must not be allowed to proceed.

The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is being held in Brandon from March 28 to April 2, 2022. As in past years, the event is set to include pig and calf scrambles. Also known as “pig wrestling”, the pig scramble will involve 7-11 year old children chasing and trying to grab pigs in order to hold onto an animal and prevent them from breaking away as they struggle to free themselves. The calf scramble will involve 14-17 year olds chasing and grabbing calves by their tails, necks, or bodies in order to grab onto a calf and remove a halter from the animal’s neck.

Because of concerns about animal welfare, fairs in Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have canceled their animal scrambles. Pig, chicken, and turkey scramble events are explicitly illegal in jurisdictions such as Minnesota.

“Pig and calf scrambles are outdated, exploitative events that cause juvenile animals to experience fear and distress as they’re chased around a brightly lit, unfamiliar arena,” said Brittany Semeniuk, animal welfare consultant with the Winnipeg Humane Society. “These scrambles are unnecessarily cruel, and are increasingly out of step with the values of Manitobans.  It is discouraging that the children and youth involved in these events are being taught that it is okay to cause distress to farmed animals solely for entertainment purposes.”

The Winnipeg Humane Society and Animal Justice have the support of the Brandon Humane Society, which has operated in Brandon since 1946.   

“Federal and provincial laws are clear: It’s illegal to cause distress and suffering to animals in the name of entertainment,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, Winnipeg-based staff lawyer with Animal Justice. “Pig and calf scrambles are not exempt from our animal cruelty laws. If the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair chooses to go ahead with its pig and calf scrambles, it is our expectation that the Fair’s organizers and the owners of the animals involved will be held to account for any violations of federal or provincial animal cruelty laws.”

The Winnipeg Humane Society and Animal Justice are calling on members of the public to reach out to the organizers of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and encourage them to cancel the planned scramble events. 


For more information, contact:

Brittany Semeniuk
Animal Welfare Consultant, Winnipeg Humane Society
[email protected]

Kaitlyn Mitchell
Staff Lawyer, Animal Justice
[email protected]

Banner image by Sandy Black/Manitoba Co-operator.