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Watermelons to replace piglets in California fair event

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Watermelons are set to replace piglets in an annual event celebrating agriculture at a California fair. The Press Democrat reported Saturday that the Sonoma County Fair has eliminated the pig scramble from Farmers Day due to rising public concern and protests over animal welfare.

In the long-running event at the fair in Santa Rosa, youngsters chased and tried to capture piglets weighing 40 to 60 pounds (18 to 27 kilograms). Officials say this year's event Aug. 4 will instead include elementary school children carrying watermelons slicked with vegetable oil around an obstacle course in a timed race.

The board president says the decision reflects a "heightened awareness" toward calls for humane treatment of farm animals at the fair 55 miles (89 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com

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