A theme park in China has been heavily criticized after forcing a pig to do a bungee jump as a publicity stunt.
Footage from the Meixin Red Wine Town theme park in Chongqing, southwest China, shows several men tying a pig to a pole before taking it up to a platform on a 68-meter-high (223 feet) tower. Once at the top, the men fitted the animal with bungee ropes and put a cape on it, before pushing it over the edge of the platform. In the original footage, the pig could reportedly be heard squealing in distress, whilst crowds below laughed and screamed. The pig was then left dangling before being brought back up by the bungee operators.
The stunt took place on January 18, BBC News reports, and was met with widespread and heavy criticism when footage appeared on Chinese social media website Weibo, where people called it "disgusting" and "torture". According to local reports, the animal was sent to a slaughterhouse after the incident.
Following the backlash, a public relations representative of the park said that the stunt was “just a bit of entertainment” and that it was "normal" for pigs to experience shock on their way to being slaughtered, the South China Morning Post reports.
Warning, the footage is distressing.
Several animal rights groups have called for animal cruelty laws – which China currently does not have – following the stunt. The wide condemnation from the general public also indicated the increasing attitude change towards animal rights issues.
"Pigs experience pain and fear in the same ways that we do, and this disgusting PR stunt should be illegal," Peta senior vice-president of international campaigns Jason Baker told BBC News.
"The Chinese public's angry response should be a wake-up call to China's policy-makers to implement animal protection laws immediately."
The park has since put out a statement apologizing for the incident.
"We sincerely accept [...] criticism and advice and apologize to the public," it said in a statement seen by BBC News. "We will improve [our] marketing of the tourist site, to provide tourists with better services."