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MAY 12 - MAY 19, 2015

Pig Dropping Could Make Falls Even More Friendly for Children

By Mike Hudson

May 12, 2015


It could work here....
Let’s not dismiss this out of hand. If the NTCC could monitor this, it might prove fruitful.

Last week on these pages, we explored the ginned up process that resulted in a USA Today reader's poll that named Niagara Falls, N.Y., as the Number One "Kid Friendly" destination in the entire United States.

While we looked all over the place for our rose colored glasses, we were unable to find them and, in light of other studies showing our city to be the most dangerous in New York State, with the highest per capita population of registered sexual predators, more than 700 abandoned and condemned former residences and businesses, industrial strength pollution and enough unremediated hazardous waste dumps to poison a Shriner's convention, we just couldn't see it.

In the write up accompanying the poll results, the crack staff of professional journalists at the most widely circulated newspaper in the United States was able to come up with two, count 'em, two things for children to do here. The first was the Cave of the Winds tour, while the second was a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist.

No mention was made in the USA Today piece of how friendly the kids might get after waiting in line for up to three hours with the hot summer sun beating down on them in order to partake either of these attractions, so we mentioned it. Some took umbrage. They said the Niagara Falls Reporter was all the time criticizing things without offering any constructive ideas.

So, after researching the sorts of things being done elsewhere to amuse children for profit, we came across a can't miss proposition that's already enjoyed great success in far off China. Kids are kids after all, and Chinese kids can't be all that different from American ones. Plus, a large percentage of the tourists gathering at Prospect Point during the season are coming from Asia anyway, and an attraction such as the one developed in the popular Chinese tourist destination of Shiyan Lake, in the beautiful Hunan Province.

Basically what it boils down to is this: You take a bunch of pigs, not very big ones but piglets or those pigmy pigs hipsters buy at pet stores and keep in their New York City apartments, and you put them up on a high platform you've built overlooking the water. Then you push them off.

Once the initial shock has worn off, the pigs look around for the nearest solid ground and begin dog paddling toward it furiously, not wanting to drown and all. The children and families witnessing the event in exchange for a small fee laugh and smile and applaud. Some of the men place wagers on which pig will reach the shoreline first. Afterward, everyone enjoys a plate of sweet and sour pork.

The obvious Niagara Falls location for such a spectacle would be the pond at Hyde Park. City Planner Tom DeSantis could apply for a Greenway grant of not less than $1 million to hire architects, lawyers, contractors and others who have contributed mightily to the campaign of Mayor Paul Dyster and the whole thing could be ready by next season.

But, just like Niagara Falls, it seems that Hunan Province has its own share of carping critics and Negative Nellies. In fact, next year's pig drop is already in danger.

It seems that some Chinese fanatics who believe that cruelty to animals is a sin greater than the good of a child's laughter are trying to screw the whole thing up. They cite the terrified looks on the animal's faces as they're being pushed off the platform. And just like in Niagara Falls, the event's promoter is having to defend himself.

"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," said promoter Shi Huang. "Anybody who says it is cruel is clearly not well informed that pigs like water." In Hunan Province as in Niagara Falls, it seems, they just can't get out of their own way.





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