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Taiwan group protests 'divine pigs'

Published By United Press International
TAIPEI, Taiwan, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Animal rights advocates in Taiwan say that force-feeding pigs to make them super-large before offering them to the gods is inhumane.

Activists held a rally Friday outside the Chingshui Zushi Temple in New Taipei City, the Taipei Times reported. The temple is one of a few in the country that still holds "divine pig" contests.

Chen Yu-min, director of the Environmental and Animal Society Taiwan, said that Chingshui Zushi, the Buddhist teacher honored by the temple, was a vegetarian.

"I would like to make it clear that we are not against the tradition of having pigs as offering to deities and immortals, but if you choose to do this, please buy pigs that are raised in a healthy way and slaughtered humanely,"she told protesters.

Many listeners supported the demonstration. One visitor, who said his family name is Huang, said he has come up with an alternative to providing overweight pigs to demonstrate his piety, the Times reported.

"A few years ago, when I had to prepare an offering for deities at a temple in my hometown, I made a 'divine pig' with bags of rice, with each bag weighing 20 kilograms (44 pounds)," Huang said. "After the ritual, I gave the rice to poor families. I think this is a better idea."
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