A Chinese theme park came under heavy scrutiny recently after forcing a 75-kilogram pig to bungee jump off a 68-metre tower all in the name of publicity.
The event took place last Saturday (18 Jan) at the Meixin Red Wine Town theme park, located in Chongqing, south-west China.
As reported by local news outlet Global Times, the stunt was part of a marketing gimmick to mark the opening of the park’s new bungee-jumping attraction.
What’s more, the owner of the theme park noted that the stunt was also staged to commemorate the end of the Year of the Pig and the beginning of the Year of the Rat.
Video footage of the disturbing incident took the Internet by storm, stirring a public outcry.
The footage shows the enormous pig, bounded to a pole, being carried up the stairs by several men before being pushed off while tied to a bungee rope.
Loud squealing from the pig can be heard, amid laughter and cheers from the crowd below, as the animal is seen hurtling down and awkwardly bouncing back up numerous times.
Local media outlets noted that the pig was sent to a slaughterhouse after it was brought down.
Watch the footage here:
According to BBC, the theme park released an apologetic statement shortly after drawing heavy criticism from the public.
“We sincerely accept netizens’ criticism and advice and apologise to the public,” it said. “We will improve [our] marketing of the tourist site, to provide tourists with better services.”
However, South China Morning Post reported that an unnamed spokesperson from the theme park defended the event as “just a bit of entertainment”, adding that the animal will eventually be butchered for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration.
Meanwhile, animal protection organisation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), condemned the act, deeming it “animal cruelty at its worst”.
Speaking to Newsweek, PETA’s senior vice-president of international campaigns, Jason Baker, said: “This is cruelty to animals at its worst. A bungee jump is a scary experience even for consenting humans – just imagine the outright terror of being forcibly strung up by your legs and thrown from a high platform. That’s the treatment that this pig received, all for a cheap laugh. Well, guess what? No one’s laughing.”
“Pigs experience pain and fear, just as we do, and this kind of disgusting PR stunt should be illegal. The theme park deserves every shred of the backlash it’s receiving online, and the Chinese public’s angry response should be a wake-up call to China’s policymakers that they must implement animal protection laws immediately,” he added.