A video showing a live pig bungee jumping off a tall tower as part of a theme park publicity stunt has sparked a major backlash online.
- The stunt marked the opening of the theme park’s new bungee-jumping attraction
- The park operator said the stunt was intended as a “prayer” for pork prices to drop
- Internet users and Chinese media criticised the treatment of the pig
In the footage, the animal can be heard squealing as it is hurled off the 68-metre-high platform and then jerked back up repeatedly by the bungee cord.
Cheers, screams and laughter are heard from the crowd.
The video then cuts to a scene of the pig lying apparently semi-conscious on the platform before it is dragged away by staff.
According to local Chinese media, the stunt was part of the opening of the new bungee-jumping attraction at the Meixin Red Wine Town theme park near south-west China’s Chongqing municipality on Saturday.
The video quickly went viral on Chinese social media, but not for the right reasons, with netizens criticising the theme park operator for what they said was the inhumane treatment of the pig.
“If I’m too scared to bungee jump I’m able to say something, but the pig can’t,” wrote one user on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.
“It was miserable for the animal,” said another, according to Chinese state media tabloid Global Times.
“It’s a disgusting marketing idea to attract attention by abusing a pig!”
The newspaper itself took to Weibo to criticise the incident, saying while “the pig is OK” the “people [behind the stunt] are not”.
Responding to criticism, the theme park’s publicity department reportedly said the stunt was “ill-conceived” and had been staged to “pray for pork prices to take a dive”.
“It’s our opening day today. We let the pig make the first jump because pork prices have been very high this year and recently they dropped a bit,” the facility’s owner told local media Thecover.cn.
An outbreak of African swine fever in China reportedly wiped out hundreds of millions of pigs, creating a severe shortage of pork and driving soaring prices.
There is conflicting information about the fate of the pig, with some local media outlets reporting the animal was destined for the slaughterhouse.
China currently has no nationwide laws that explicitly prohibit the mistreatment of livestock and domestic animals. It has often been in the news for driving exploitive and sometimes illegal animal trades, from dog meat to shark fins.
While a draft version of an animal protection law was first submitted for public comment in 2010, it was never implemented by China’s legislative organ, the National People’s Congress.
However, a National Geographic report from 2017 said China was seeing a growing awareness of animal welfare, with more registered animal protection organisations as well as shelters and rescues springing up across the country.
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