AN animal rights group is calling for the boycott of a country-side festival over plans to stage pig racing.

Animal Aid is asking people "to take a stand against" the Lancashire and Ribble Valley Countryside and Garden Festival because it says racing pigs is inhumane and demeaning.

But organisers of this weekend's festival at Hawkshaw Farm, Longs-ight Road, Clayton-le-Dale, disputed the claims and offered to meet protesters to show that the animals were well looked after.

The three-day festival attracted headlines for its star attraction of pig racing, run by the Fossett Circus Family.

It features racing piglets such as Desert Porkid and Red Ham who are enticed around the course by food.

But Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, said while it might represent a fun day out for visitors, for the animal it meant "stress, exploitation and death".

He added: "The public can make a stand against such abuse by refusing to attend the event and urging others to do the same."

But dairy farmer Eric Dowson, of Hawkshaw Farm, said: "The race involves pigs running for their supper. They are not starved beforehand.

"They are well looked after and neither me nor the organisers would let this go ahead or be involved in this if the pigs were distressed in any way.

"If Animal Aid have information about pig racing that proves it is cruel I would ask them to contact me."