Controversy is brewing at New Hampshire's largest fair, as protesters take to the sidewalks in Deerfield to call for an end to the pig scramble event.
It was the first protest in the Deerfield Fair's history.
"They're terrorized, they're afraid," said animal rights advocate Meg Hurley. "They're squealing, they're calling for their mothers."
As protesters lined the gates of the 141st Deerfield Fair calling for an end to the pig scramble, the event got underway inside. It's been drawing huge crowds for the last 34 years, and the fair's vice president says despite the protests, they don't plan to cancel it.
"We've had local vets review it with us, we have had the state vet review with us," said Deerfield Fair Vice President Richard Pitman. "If there is any type of abuse, we stop it immediately, but we don't feel there is at all."
Grade school student Jessie Fortin tells NBC Boston before he caught his piglet during the scramble on Thursday, he got thorough instructions on how to do it.
"They told me the hind legs only, and do not pull them by the ears," Fortin said.
But protest organizer Kristina Snyder says even following the rules is inhumane.
"Think about putting an animal into a burlap sack and watching it gyrate in the sack," Snyder said. "It is scared and has no idea what is going to happen to it and why it's happening to begin with."
But farmers watching the scramble say there's nothing cruel about catching a piglet.
"It's part of life, as animals and food and farming, that should be more normal than it is," said Alton farmer Benjamin Kane.
Protesters say normalizing the event is exactly what they're fighting against.
"Is it fair for this little animal to be chased just for fair fodder, just for a few laughs?" asked Snyder.
Snyder has also started an online petition six weeks ago. It has about 111,000 signatures from across the country and is growing by the hour.