Living Donkey Meat Ad Sparks Controversy in Beijing

November 3, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 3, 2007 12:00 am

BEIJING—A mangy donkey tied to a post all day in a Beijing street wearing an advertisement for a donkey meat shop run by his owner has sparked debate in the Chinese capital, a local newspaper said on Saturday.

The donkey is periodically moved around wearing its green and white coat advertising the store, but left on its own, given a few cobs of corn to eat, and surrounded by its own manure, the Beijing News said.

“It has caused controversy,” the newspaper added. “Some people think that using the donkey is very interesting. Yet others worry it's not hygienic, and may affect the city's image.”

The owner doesn't seem to care for all the fuss, the report said. “The aim is to attract customers. The effect has been great,” it quoted the man, whose surname was given as Zhao, as saying.

Animal rights are still a strange concept to many Chinese, who enthusiastically consume donkey, horse, dog and even cat and think little of keeping those meant for the pot in terrible conditions.

Last year though, banner-wielding animal rights protesters swarmed into a restaurant serving cat meat in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and forced it to shut.