Watermelons to replace piglets in California fair event

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Watermelons are set to replace piglets in an annual event celebrating agriculture at a California fair.

The Press Democrat reported Saturday that the Sonoma County Fair has eliminated the pig scramble from Farmers Day due to rising public concern and protests over animal welfare.

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In the long-running event at the fair in Santa Rosa, youngsters chased and tried to capture piglets weighing 40 to 60 pounds (18 to 27 kilograms).

Officials say this year's event Aug. 4 will instead include elementary school children carrying watermelons slicked with vegetable oil around an obstacle course in a timed race.

The board president says the decision reflects a "heightened awareness" toward calls for humane treatment of farm animals at the fair 55 miles (89 kilometres) north of San Francisco.

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Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com

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