TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Sanxia held its annual Lunar New Year Holy Pig festival Thursday in spite of criticism and protest by activists as inhumane. Local pig farmers compete to display the largest pig, with the winner taking home a trophy every year.
The annual festival marks the birthday of the Chinese deity Zushi and was held in a square outside the temple in the northern district of Sanxia, a traditional district in New Taipei City in northern Taiwan.
Animal rights activists say farmers have adopted inhumane methods to force-feed pigs to increase their weight. As a “holy pig” raised for the ceremony, it can weigh more than 800 kg compared to a normal weight of 120 kg.
Zushi has a strong following in the north of Taiwan and the centuries-old tradition is vehemently defended by organizers and worshippers.
The management of Zushi temple said that holding the “Holy Pig” festival helps bringing people together, and the regulatory commission and the worshippers have decided that the ritual will not be suspended due to the criticism.