Caroline MacGregor Published

High School Pig Raffle Angers PETA

Pigs in a pen in a village in Linquan County, China.

Updated Tuesday Nov. 1, 2022

WVPB has learned the winner of the raffle decided to donate the pig for food to feed several families in the district. In response to the news of the pig’s impending demise, animal rights organization PETA offered to deliver free vegan sausages to the school.

Tug Valley High School in rural northern Mingo County has found itself at the center of an animal rights dispute over the raffle of a pig.

The school came up with the idea as a way to raise funds for its football team. The fate of the pig now lies in the hands of the winning raffle ticket holder who will be announced Friday during Tug Valley’s football game against Man High School.

For $5, the winner gets to decide if the pig lives, or if it will be killed and used to feed families in need.

The idea for the raffle came from the school’s assistant coach whose family owns a hog business. But while the school’s football team stands to benefit, animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) believes the raffle is cruel and callous.

Spokesperson Kenneth Montville said a high school should not gamble with the life of an animal to raise funds.

“This raffle is nothing more than a callous and cruel game that is being played with the life of a living, breathing being,” he said. “Pigs are intelligent, they are sensitive animals, they can feel pain, they form strong bonds with other pigs.”

In a letter, PETA challenged Tug Valley High School principal Dr. Douglas Ward, saying if the pig is to be killed it should be done in full view of students as a lesson in compassion and empathy for animals.

Ward said he respects PETA’s mission, but said that this is part of their agricultural program.

“We never envisioned that someone wanted to take this pig home but if that’s their choice they’ll have a pig they can choose, or can get the 100 dollars and have a breeding pig,” he said. “There seems to be some misconception; we do not have a slaughter house at Tug Valley, we have an agriculture program.”

Ward said he does not want to see any animal treated in an inhumane manner, but said we live in a society where people depend on animals to eat.

“We use those for food, and we have a lot of folks in our community who are in need who may win that,” Ward said. “We have folks in our community who, if they win, may donate that to people in need.”

On its Facebook page Tug Valley High football team attempted to clear up any misperception about cruelty to the pig.

“There have been many comments/questions concerning our current ‘Save the Pig’ Fundraiser. We wanted to post and clear up some of the questions/concerns we have seen.

If you are in possession of the winning ticket after the raffle is complete at halftime of our final home game versus Man High School, you will have two options:

If you chose to “save” the pig, you will receive $100 and if you so desire may have the pig delivered to your residence. (The original post did state “the pig gets to live” which is in fact true) The option to keep the pig at one’s residence was not a considered option as many people do not have the proper necessities needed to raise/keep a full-size 200+ pound hog, however if this is your desire, we will accommodate your request.

If you chose to “slaughter” the pig, you would receive an order form with detailed options as to how you would like your pork prepared. You will receive approximately 150 pounds of meat from a local pork farm that will be delivered to your home.

Any claims that the pig would be killed in any inhumane or inappropriate way are simply not true. Whether you plan to allow this 200+ pound pig to roam through your yard or plan to use this opportunity to stock up the freezer, we encourage everyone to buy a chance and help support our cause!!”

PETA has offered to transport the pig free of charge to a sanctuary if the winner agrees to spare the animal’s life.