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September 20, 2017

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Time to put an end to sacrificial pig-raising contests

Animal rights activists Tuesday called for an end to sacrificial pig-raising at a dozen temples in Taiwan, denouncing the ritual killing of force-fed animals during Ghost Month, one of the country's biggest annual festivals. In keeping with the principles of the ethical treatment of animals, the activists from the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (社團法人台灣動物社會研究會) rightly contended that these pigs are kept in confinement and force-fed until they grow to weigh up to six times their normal weight, before being brutally dragged onto a scale in front of a huge crowd to have their throats slit. Such vicious torture and slaughter of farm animals is a source of shame for Taiwan internationally.

What kind of sick people would do such a cruel thing to pigs? How can farmers claim to abide by such a ludicrous belief that the "bigger the sacrificed pig, the more luck a person will have for the rest of the year," with no official intervention to put a stop to a seemingly popular practice. Ghost Month is nearing its end, and during the past few weeks festivals and offerings have been visible in temples and shrines and in front of homes and businesses throughout the country. We sincerely hope that the lifetime of agony for hundreds of pigs bred by local farmers until they become abnormally overweight can come to an end as well. The sad thing is that the force-feeding of animals and slaughtering them in public are already illegal in Taiwan. Yet, most people believe that local authorities are unwilling to do anything about it for fear of backlash from numerous ethnic groups who claim it as part of their cultural heritage, but at what cost?

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