This video – watched 50 million times in less than 48 hours – shows a live pig being hurled over the edge of a bungee jumping platform during a shocking celebration to mark the opening of the new 230-foot-high tourist attraction.
A spokesman for Mexin Village of Wine, a resort in Fuling District in China’s south-western municipality of Chongqing, admitted the stunt was “inappropriate” – before then admitting they had later had the squealing animal slaughtered.
Footage of the ill-conceived public relations stunt on 18th January has since spawned hashtags – ‘Chongqing scenic area makes fat pig bungee’ and ‘Chongqing scenic area responds to bungee pig’ – which have been seen more than 360 million times on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, often dubbed ‘Chinese Twitter’.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
According to reports, the pig weighing some 75 kilogrammes (165 lbs) had its front and hind legs bound by rope before it was dragged onto the newly opened bungee jumping platform.
In the video, tourists attending the opening ceremony of the newly built 68-metre (223-foot) attraction then watch as the hog is rolled off the metal platform with a bungee cord harness strapped to its body.
The squealing pig, which appears to be in distress, bounces up and down as the event draws loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
However, members of the public, including social media users, responded very differently after footage of the incident went viral.
Criticism and accusations of animal abuse were levelled at the resort, which released a statement apologising for the thoughtless PR stunt the following day.
On 19th January, a spokesperson for Meixin Village of Wine said the scenic area would better regulate its marketing activities.
The spokesman also offered further explanation, saying “We held the event to symbolise the passing of the year of the pig, and the coming of the year of the rat.
“The pig jumping from such a great height also symbolises the falling price of pork.
“We offer our sincere apologies to members of the public.
“After our inappropriate opening ceremony, we sent the pig to an abattoir.
“The pig was still the same as before it bungeed. For us, it was purely for entertainment, and we didn’t consider anything else.
“We were careless. Again, we’re very sorry. We won’t be doing anything similar ever again.
“What the public says is correct – and we humbly accept their criticism and recommendations.”
Questions have also been posed to local tourism officials, including why they would approve such a controversial PR stunt.
In response, the Fuling District Tourism Bureau said: “Scenic areas report all upcoming events to us when the activities reach a certain participant threshold.
“The e event on 18th January did not meet the attendance threshold, so the scenic spot did not inform us beforehand.
“We contacted them after the incident came to our attention.”
The tourism office did not say whether the resort faced any punishment, but the organisers are unlikely to be fined due to China’s lack of animal protection laws.
Keith Guo, media officer for PETA Asia, told Asia Wire: “This is probably the world’s most inhumane bungee jump.
“While tourists can choose whether to face their bungee jump fears, this poor animal is completely at the mercy of those who have tied up its legs.
“It hangs from the sky in fright, but it has nowhere to run and in the end faces the inevitability of an abattoir.
“Animals, like humans, feel suffering and fear. Nobody’s ‘entertainment’ should be at the expense of another’s suffering.
“The Chinese public’s angry response sends a clear message – animals are not for entertainment.
“PETA hopes tourists will boycott the organiser’s bungee jump activities to ensure a similar farce doesn’t happen again.”
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.