Red Brick Daily Staff
How fat can a pig get? Pretty darn FAT!
Despite years of debate over the “Pigs of God” or “Sacred Yi Min Pig Festival,” Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu visited a temple in central Kaohsiung on Monday, August 22, 2016 … to pray at the traditional Hakka event.
(Photo via the Kaohsiung City Government)
Variations of the pig festival take place in locations across Taiwan, the largest being in Sanxia, New Taipei. But Kaohsiung also holds a pig festival, a religious event originating in Taiwan’s Hakka community.
(Taiwan is home to some four million Hakka people, a group originally from inner China that have been displaced across the Chinese-speaking world and arrived in Taiwan several centuries ago. A notable Taiwanese-Hakka is former president Lee Deng-hui, while Singapore’s late founding father Lee Kuan Yew also traced part of his ancestry to Hakka Chinese traders who arrived in South East Asia a very long time ago.)
These HIGHLY controversial Taiwanese festivals/contests involve pigs that have been force-fed for years. They are judged based on weight and other prized features, then slaughtered, put on floats and displayed.
Some claim the festival is related to ancient Hakka beliefs and the pigs are sacrificed in thanks to the gods, but more than one expert has pointed out that the tradition appears to much more recent, and may have even begun during the Japanese colonial occupation of Taiwan (1895-1945) as a way of encouraging hog farmers to produce bigger swine.
Reports say that for up to two years or more, the pigs are constantly force-fed to the point where they can no longer stand. The pigs often suffer from organ failure and pressure sores.
The animals are reportedly force-fed sand and even heavy metals like lead in a bid to make them “weighty winners.”After a winner has been declared, the animals have their throats slit, are roasted and their skin stretched out as a demonstration of their size.
Come on, Kaohsiung! Respecting religion is great … but the animal cruelty here is pretty plain to see.
(Cover photo via The Daily Mail UK)