Grumpy miracle pig voted China's most popular animal

Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:53am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - A pig that survived 36 days buried in the rubble of May's massive Sichuan earthquake has been voted China's favorite animal, but the attention has made him fat, lazy and bad-tempered, state media said.

The hog, trapped in a sty after the 7.9 magnitude quake, was bought by a local businessman who was moved by its ordeal and named "Zhu Jianqiang," or "Strong Pig."

It survived by eating charcoal and drinking rainwater.

Now it has been voted top of an online poll of animals "who moved China" this year, the weekend edition of the China Daily said.

Other top animals included a dog that guarded its elderly owner when he was sick and accompanied him to hospital, and a cat that almost died of grief when its partner was run over by a car.

The pig "vividly illustrated the spirit of never giving up," the report cited the webmasters who ran the poll as saying.

People come from all over to see the pig at its new home in a museum, the newspaper said, but it was becoming increasingly spoiled and ungrateful.

"It's gotten fatter and lazier by the day," it quoted staff as saying. "We used to take it out for a walk every morning and afternoon, but it's too lazy -- and too fat -- to do it."

And the pig is getting fed up with visitors, after initially being quite friendly.

"Now it just blocks the door to its bedroom when there are too many visitors outside. It's been increasingly difficult for us to convince it to open the door," the report said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by David Fox)