WOODSIDE, Calif. --Some call it just traditional fun and games for kids, but others are calling it animal abuse. The battle is over the annual "Pig Scramble" in the California town of Woodside.
The Woodside "Pig Scramble" -- is it all-American fun on a Fourth of July or an unwitting example of cruelty to animals?
"They are running for their lives," said former Woodside resident Belle Stafford.
"They are messing with our history and traditions," said Woodside Mounted Patrol Captain Victor Aenlle.
Part of a Rodeo put on every July 4th by Woodside's private, men-only mounted patrol, now more than 100 residents, plus thousands of others across the country have signed a petition asking Woodside's town council to ban this event and Aenlle is not happy about it.
"Pig scrambles are legal in California," said Aenlle.
"People have been doing a lot of things for a long time," said Eric Mills of Action For Animals. "Wife beating, child abuse, incest. It has to stop."
"They are not trying to hurt the pigs, they are playing with the pigs and in turn the pigs are playing with the kids," said Aenlle. "What I see here is the best day the pigs will see in their entire lives."
Aenlle worries that animal rights activists will move to ban the rodeo, they deny that. Instead, Stafford says it's all about messages.
"They are teaching kids that it is alright to bully beings that are weaker and smaller than you," Stafford told ABC13's sister station ABC7 News.
All this, seething just below the surface in Woodside where Tuesday night, at least the town council considers putting the piglet before the horse.
Report a typo to the ABC13 digital staff