A few years ago, we posted about a new competitive sport in which dogs compete by jumping off docks. Apparently, the competitions are continuing. The DockDogs website describes it as the “The World’s Premier Canine Aquatics Competition.” As no other canine aquatics competitions come to mind, they are probably right. Dogs diving off docks is definitely preferable to the old American carnival attraction, diving horses. Now we hear that Chinese farmers have introduced diving pigs into the mix. Apparently, in addition to being a source of entertainment, the farmers claim that it provides exercise and makes the pigs healthier, as well as making the pork taste better.
The New York Times Sinosphere blog reports: Images on the Internet and reports in newspapers suggest that creating a leaping, amphibious pig is another realm where China, which raises more than half the world’s pigs, can claim global pre-eminence. Online photos show piglets prodded to dive off a bridge into a lake. Others show a spotted-pig triathlon of diving, swimming and hurdling.
Aquatic swine are not exclusive to China. Australia has a family with diving pigs, and in the Bahamas you can frolic in the surf with them. But China’s rural entrepreneurs have turned the pursuit into a tourist draw and a selling point for pork. Proponents say that diving pigs are healthier, leaner and tastier.
“We wanted to make the pigs grow healthier, because usually they’re too lazy,” said Zou Wei, a manager in the planning department of Tuhe Black Pork, a company in Shandong Province that puts some of its hogs through a routine of diving and swimming. “To start with, the pigs don’t like it, but you force one onto the diving platform and it slides down, the others see that and follow.”
The Piggy Kingdom Family Amusement Park in Zhejiang Province has taken the amusement factor to new heights. Pictures and videofrom the park show pigs being heaved off a platform and thrashing in the air until smacking into water 39 feet below. That’s about six feet more than the tallest Olympic diving platform.
“The Piggy Amusement Park is a bit smelly,” one visitor said, according to a report on the local government’s website. “But the piglets were cute diving into the water and the kids loved it.”