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Animal rights protesters target pig-wrestling event

APPLETON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A 44-year-old church pig-wrestling tradition near Appleton went off with few hitches yesterday, after it caught the eyes of animal rights protesters for the first time.

The Appleton Post-Crescent said around 20 activists showed up at Stephensville to condemn the popular "Pig Rassle" during the annual Round-up Days at Saint Patrick's Parish. WLUK TV of Green Bay said the protesters were in the "dozens," but the station's Web site did not list a specific number. Two protesters were escorted away after disrupting a Mass at the church. Most simply held signs saying "Animal Abuse is Evil," and "Rassle Each Other, Not Pigs."

Still, most of the mudslinging occurred in the pig pens, where organizers said no animal was ever hurt in the event despite claims from the Global Conservation Group of Watertown. It attracted 62,000 people who signed Internet petitions condemning the event.