08/05/2015 18:08 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 01:12 EDT

Activists squealing about Quebec pig contest, say it abuses animals

SAINTE-PERPETUE, Que. — Animal-rights groups are squealing about an annual contest in a small Quebec town that features participants trying to grab greased pigs

The event this week in Ste-Perpetue sees domestic pigs and wild boars let loose in a muddy pen and then chased by contestants who have to catch them and toss them into a barrel.

Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals and the Montreal branch of the SPCA are calling on citizens to pressure the town's mayor and councillors to ban the festivities.

"(The event) causes extreme stress and an enormous risk of injury," said SPCA spokeswoman Anita Kapuscinska. "All for the amusement of humans."

She said there would be outrage if the festival used dogs instead of pigs.

"Yet pigs are smarter than dogs and we know they can feel fear and stress," she added.

While no injuries to pigs have been reported at the event, Kapuscinska said that doesn't mean some animals haven't been hurt over the years.

Ste-Perpetue is about 150 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The Canadian Press