What did you do last weekend? We’re sure it was amazing, but not nearly as amazing as watching “flying pigs” dive off bridges into water.

Tourism officials in Shenzhen, China, trained a bunch of pigs to dive off a bridge into Shiyan Lake to amuse visitors. The pigs had their debut diving and swimming competition over the May Day weekend.

pigs flying 4

State broadcaster CCTV News posted photos from the event on May 3rd, and international commenters went nuts. As we post this, the album has nearly 35,000 likes and just over 11,500 shares. Some commenters were amused, others cried torture and abuse, several racist comments with terrible spelling and grammar appeared, and one person said, “There’s water on my bacon.” In other words, the pig thread is basically every internet comment thread ever.

pigs flying swag

Photoshop: Liz Barclay

Event organizer Shi Huang defended the event, and is quoted in the Telegraph as saying:

“The piglets are carefully trained to perform this special stunt and they get well rewarded with food. And once they get over their nerves they clearly enjoyed it. Anybody who says it is cruel is clearly not well informed that pigs like water.”

Whether they like water or not isn’t the point. We like water just fine, but we still wouldn’t like it if someone just randomly shoved us off a bridge.

Still, the New York Times points out that this is far from the first porcine aquatic event ever held in the great nation of China. It turns out that some farmers regularly teach their pigs to swim as a method of exercise, to obtain leaner, healthier meat.

There’s also a Piggy Kingdom Family Amusement Park in Zhejiang Provice that sends its pigs diving off a 39-foot-high platform. The NYT notes that height is six feet higher up than Olympic diving platforms. We’ll be honest; in videos, the pigs at that amusement park don’t look like they’re having fun.

The Grey Lady spoke to a self-proclaimed pig diving expert named Yang Shiliu, who is also a former researcher from the Hunan Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Institute. He claims that just as with human athletes, it’s a state of mind for pigs.

Yang also said, “The occasional [porcine] divers will be hesitant. Once they’re used to it, they don’t mind.”

pigs flying 2

[via CCTV News, the New York Times, the Telegraph]