Actor Woody Harrelson has joined forces with the animal rights organization PETA to push Texas Gov. Greg Abbot into banning the annual Bandera Bacon Bash, claiming it violates animal cruelty laws.
According to Fox News, PETA shared a letter written by Harrelson denouncing “the cruelty that the pigs are subjected to” at the Bandera event, recalling a video shared by PETA that featured pigs being wrangled for slaughter in often brutal ways.
“I have a lot of pride in my home state and the compassionate, independent spirit of my fellow Texans,” Harrelson wrote in his letter. “At this year’s event in March, which eyewitnesses recorded, screaming, frightened pigs were chased around an arena. They were grabbed by their ears, tails, and snouts and hauled by their legs while their faces were dragged through the sand and they desperately tried to escape. Participants tackled pigs, jumped on them, and hit them, and event staff kicked them in the head.”
Harrelson went on to say that the behavior teaches children that torturing and scaring animals is a form of amusement.
“This violent spectacle encourages children and adults alike to scare, injure, and torment animals for entertainment,” he concluded. “The world doesn’t need more bullies. Texas law prohibits inflicting unnecessary and unjustified pain and suffering on animals, so I implore you to make sure that the law is upheld here—and to issue an executive order banning this event.”
The letter included a petition to halt the event on PETA’s website. Here’s the video Harrelson referenced, which indeed shows squealing pigs being tormented.
Speaking with KSAT, Brandon Nicholson, vice president of Bandera Wranglers, denounced PETA as a bully while defending the event as a cause that raises money for various non-profits. “We’re going to take control of it. We’re not going to let them bully us down to stop an event that raises a lot of good funds for the community,” he said.
Nicholson added that the event raises money for such local groups like the Boys and Girls Club, as “well as deals with the feral hog overpopulation that can cause millions of dollars of damage to farmland.”
Sam Campos, spokesman for the group Unparalleled Suffering, told KSAT that they will not stop fighting the bacon bash until the animals are free. “As animal rights activists, we are tenacious,” he said. “We will prevail until every animal is free.”
In an interview with Politico in 2013, Woody Harrelson revealed a more colorful view of politics than the average Hollywoodite, describing himself as an “anarchist” with no appreciation for Republicans or Democrats. He even compared President Obama to President Nixon.
“It’s all synchronized swimming to me. They all kneel and kiss the ring,” Harrelson said of politicians. “Who’s going to take on the oil industry or the medical industry?”
Harrelson compared President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan to President Nixon’s escalation in Vietnam. “People compare Obama to Lyndon Johnson, but I think a better comparison is between Obama and Nixon,” he said. “Because Nixon came into office saying he was going to pull out of Vietnam, and then he escalated the war. A lot of us were led to believe that Obama was the peace president, but there are still, I think, 70,000 troops in Afghanistan.”