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Fair replaces pig races with flying dogs

Aug. 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Officials with New York's Richmond County Fair said this year's pig races were scrapped over swine flu concerns and replaced with a flying dog competition.

The fair said the annual pig races, a decades-old tradition, is being skipped at this year's Sept. 1-3 fair due to swine flu outbreaks linked to fairs in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Hawaii, and will be replaced with a contest involving dogs leaping into water from an elevated plank, the Staten Island Advance reported Tuesday.

"It's like the doggy Olympics. These are amateurs. They will dash down a raised dock, leap into the air, and they are judged on a variety of different ways: They can catch things, on distance, height," said Ed Wiseman, executive director of Historic Richmond Town.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 154 cases of swine flu in the United States from the start of the year through July.

"While rare, influenza can spread from pigs to people and from people to pigs," the CDC's Web site states. "When people get swine flu viruses, it's usually after contact with pigs. This has happened in different settings, including fairs."

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