Copyright 2008 by William A. Mays, Proprietor
WITH STAN DABKOWSKI
Farmer Fined by Overzealous
Stan Dabkowski, owner of Spring Meadow Farms in Upperco, Maryland, learned he will be fined by Baltimore County officials for conducting a pig mud-wrestling match at his farm on Saturday, September 27th. "They want to use me as a case study," Mr. Dabkowski told the Police Gazette in an exclusive interview. He explained that the county is in a tough spot because they can't be seen as condoning the activity and that they have to do the politically correct thing. But then, he says, the county will probably end up redoing the law to make the definitions of animal abuse more clear. As for being fined, Mr. Dabkowski promises to appeal and to "take it as far as I have to take it."
The innocent farmer not only has the county to contend with, he and his family have been receiving a steady stream of threatening messages by phone and email. One man who threatened physical harm against him identified himself as a minister.
The event in question took place on a wet, late-September Saturday. But despite the driving rain, 300 people turned out to spectate and participate. Teams of four people were set up in one of three categories: children ages 8 to 12, males aged 13 and up, and females aged 13 and up. A total of 20 teams signed on for the chance to jump into a 30-foot ring filled with seven inches of slippery mud. The object for team members was to corral a 50-pound pig using their hands and bodies only (no ropes, gloves or other foreign objects allowed) and place the pig in a 12-inch-high empty water trough. The team accomplishing this in the shortest time won first place, with teams allowed a maximum of 90 seconds, later reduced to 60 seconds, to complete their task. Around 15 teams were able to get the pig in the trough within the time limit, but the top three teams achieved their goal in 8, 9, and 12 seconds respectively. The first place team won the $150 prize. Mr. Dabkowski reports that no people and no pigs were injured at all. Two more events were scheduled that were to have included playoffs between top teams in order to crown a pig mud-wrestling champion. Sadly, these events have now been cancelled due to the prospect of financially debilitating fines being imposed by Baltimore County.
Mr. Dabkowski is puzzled by all the negative reaction. Pig mud-wrestling is a family-fun pastime that goes on across the United States every year. Mr. Dabkowski himself got the idea from a friend in Pennsylvania who runs an event there. Other examples of the legitimacy of the sport can be found everywhere, such as in Wyoming and Wisconsin.
"Cockfighting and pit bull fighting are illegal and they should be," Mr. Dabkowski told the Police Gazette. He said that opponents have been comparing him to Michael Vick, the NFL QB convicted of running a dog-fighting ring. Our own opinion of Mr. Vick can be found here and we see no comparison whatsoever.
Animal-rights groups such as PETA and the Humane Society have been especially antagonistic toward Mr. Dabkowski. "Some groups want me to give them the pigs so they can be put someplace where they can live out their lives," he told us. "I can't imagine anyone wanting 600-pound hogs running around in three years." Being the successful business owner he is, he said, "I won't give them away, but I'd sell them to them for $20,000."
In view of the pigs no longer being allowed to wrestle, Mr. Dabkowski plans a pig roast for October 18th open to the public. "Pigs are for eating," he said. This statement seems to be supported by history. The type of domesticated pig we see on farms today has not been bred for its suitability as a pet, Arnold Ziffel notwithstanding. Having spent time on the farm with pigs ourselves, we know the attachment one can develop to the ebullient critters. And then one day Porky goes away and it's ham sandwiches for lunch and pork roast for dinner. Mr. Dabkowski agreed, saying it's easy to get emotionally attached to the herd, and the first time he had to let go of a group to which he'd become close it was difficult. Our opinion is that those who would deny the joy of the human/porcine relationship while the pigs are alive really does not have their best interest at heart after all.
October 11, 2008