In 2019, PETA eyewitnesses attended the Bandera Ham Rodeo, a so-called “wild hog catch” event near Bandera, Texas, in which wild young pigs and piglets were tormented, abused, terrorized, and injured.
Dozens of wild pigs ranging in age from about 4 weeks to 6 months old were captured and trucked in for the event, which involved chasing them around an arena, grabbing them, and stuffing them into sacks, as they struggled and screamed in fear. The pigs were slated to be slaughtered and barbecued after the event.
Participants tackled, slapped, and kicked the young pigs, sometimes in the head. Then they grabbed them by the tail, ears, or snout and dragged them through the sand by the legs, as announcers goaded them on.
According to PETA Foundation veterinarian Dr. Christine Capaldo, such abuse could cause serious and painful injuries: “It is never acceptable to carry a piglet suspended by one or two legs as this will place excessive pressure on the leg joints and result in injuries such as dislocations, and muscle, ligament, or tendon rupture.”
Many pigs were so desperate to escape their tormenters that they tried to dig under or leap over barriers, many crashing headfirst into the metal fencing surrounding the arena again and again. One pig got her hoof caught in the fencing and struggled to wrench herself free. Many sustained open, bleeding wounds, their blood spattering the arena and the contestants.
PETA veterinarian Dr. Ingrid Taylor noted that one pig “impacted the fence so hard with his face/head that he bent the metal, … at least one pig appeared uncoordinated and disoriented after impacting the metal fence,” possibly indicating a concussion, “and one pig was possibly limping after impacting the fence.”