I gotta warn you, this next story goes down as one of the more disturbing moments of my life.
My lovely wife, Jenn, spent two years teaching in Harbin, China which is in the far northeast corner of China. It’s home to frigid winters, beautiful Russian architecture, and the Tiger Park. At the tiger park, you pay an entrance fee which gets you on a van or caged car for a ride through the park to see the hundreds of tigers. Or, you can pay more money and buy a variety of animals to feed the tigers. I don’t remember the exact prices, but for a small fee you can feed the tigers a pheasant. Or for a little larger fee you can feed them a goat. Or for a bigger fee you can even feed them a cow. These animals are alive when they come out of the truck and dead seconds later. It’s actually quite sad to watch. A pick up truck slowly drives into the center of the field where a dozen or so tigers are hanging out. The back of the truck lifts up and dumps the live goat onto the field. That moment where the tigers surround the truck and wait for their lunch is extremely sad and disturbing. Then, within seconds, they pounce on the live goat and fight over it until one of the tigers wins the battle and runs off with its prize. Everyone in the van is either screaming, cheering, or crying. It was at that moment where i noticed that Jenn was uncontrollably weeping. We were only dating at the time so i actually didn’t know her all that well. I did find the grotesque devouring of an innocent animal for human entertainment quite disgusting, but i couldn’t help but laugh at Jenn’s sobs. We shot some photos and recorded a video of the goat execution (which i will not show you).
Of all the things i saw and experienced in China, this was one that will stick with me for a lifetime. At the time, i thought this was a normal thing to pay money for and experience. I think i had been living in China too long. Now, i can’t imagine being okay with paying to execute an innocent goat and i hate to admit that a couple of years ago i found it entertaining.