Bungee-jumping pig in China draws backlash on social media
A pig pushed into bungee jumping off a 68-metre-high platform is pictured in this video screengrab.
TORONTO -- A 100-kilogram pig tied to a bungee cord and thrown off a tall platform on Saturday as part of a new park attraction stunt in Chongqing ahead of the Lunar New Year sparked disgust across Chinese social media over the weekend, prompting organizers to issue an apology the following day.
In one version of the video that was viewed more than 17 million times and posted on the Chinese Twitter-like platform, Weibo, a pig was shown being pushed off a 68-metre, or approximately 223 feet, bungee platform to sounds of cheering and screaming.
The narrator in the video said the new bungee jumping attraction at Mexin Red Wine Town was already drawing attention, but using a pig to do the jump had an added appeal because it was something people hadn’t seen before.
“A lot of tourists and locals came to the attraction to watch,” the narrator said.
He went on to describe how the hefty pig was “definitely not obedient” when it was brought up the elevator and had to be tied, but described the pig as being “very calm” when pushed down. He said the pig was also very calm and “didn’t react or move” after it was pulled up.
A pig tied to a bungee cord is pictured in this video screengrab.
But angry Weibo users were not impressed.
“I really can’t understand what is so funny about treating animals this way,” wrote one user, whose comment received more than 95,800 likes.
“This is indeed abuse. Some people are saying if humans can do it, why can’t pigs? People chose to bungee jump voluntarily, can you say the same for pigs?” another user wrote to more than 32,600 likes.
Another user reacted: “How was it calm? It was obviously screaming!”
China currently does not have any broad laws that protect animals from abuse, but there has been growing attention and awareness of animal welfare in recent years.
The following day, the park posted an apology on Weibo, acknowledging the censure it received both online and in the media.
“We sincerely accept all criticisms and suggestions and offer our sincere apologies to everyone,” it wrote, adding that going forward it would strive to do better.
A separate video post following the backlash said the pig was subsequently sent to the slaughterhouse.
According to one news post on Weibo, the park said pushing the “golden pig” - the Chinese zodiac animal for 2019 - was a symbolic wish for pork prices to go down.
A devastating outbreak of African swine fever has resulted in the loss of as many as 100 million pigs over the last year, with pork prices skyrocketing 97 per cent in last month, after surging 110 per cent in November, according to various media reports.
A screengrab of an apology issued by the park on January 19, 2020.