Chinese social media users have reacted angrily to a video that appeared online on Saturday of a live pig attached to a bungee rope being pushed off a 70-metre-high (230-foot) platform, supposedly to celebrate the opening of a theme park's new attraction, local media reported.
In the footage, which was uploaded to Weibo - China's Twitter-like service - the 75kg (165lb) animal is seen tied to a pole being carried by two men to the top of a metal stairway. Once at the top, the men truss the animal with the bungee ropes, tie a purple cape around its shoulders and push it over the edge.
As the animal plummets to the ground, people can be heard laughing and cheering.
But few people on social media saw the joke.
"I don't see anything funny in it," a person wrote on Weibo. "Why were there people laughing? Just because the animal can't express fear doesn't mean it is not afraid."
Another suggested replacing the pig with the owner of the theme park.
"To tie up its boss and throw him down would be much more entertaining," the person said.
According to a report on Thecover.cn, the stunt was arranged to mark the opening of a bungee jump at the Mexin Wine Town theme park in southwest China's Chongqing municipality,
The park's unnamed owner tried to make light of the incident.
"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," she said.
Pork is a staple in China, but an outbreak of African swine fever that began in August 2018 and spread across the country wiped out an estimated 200 million animals and caused prices to soar. In December, the meat was almost twice as expensive as it had been a year earlier, albeit 5 per cent cheaper than it had been the previous month.
The owner said the stunt was also staged to mark the end of the Year of the Pig and the dawn of the Year of the Rat, which begins on Saturday.
China does not have any laws to protect animal rights, but there have been increasing calls from welfare groups in recent years for legislation to prevent abuse.
After its enforced bungee jump, the pig was seen being dragged away from the scene.
A public relations worker at the park said the animal was destined to be served up at a Lunar New Year banquet and that it was "normal" for them to experience shock on their way to slaughter.
Its ordeal was "just a bit of entertainment", he said.
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