The Battle For Piñata Rights
on 7/20/2005 (0)
For over eight hundred years, man has been taking advantage of the docile Piñata. Filled with candy and other trinkets, they are often strung up and then bashed with sticks until their sweet insides rain onto the happy spectators below. While most people enjoy them at parties, few know of the lifetime of abuse that the Piñata endures.
"People seem to concentrate simply on the candy insides and fail to realize that they are killing a living, breathing creature. You wouldn't string up a dog or cat and club them until their insides dripped out then gleefully collect the entrails from the ground, yet people do exactly this with Piñatas," said Nathan Lane, co-founder of Piñata Rights International (PRI), a group whose goal is to end abuse of Piñatas worldwide. Lane is also a self proclaimed "master of disguise" and though twice tried, he has never been convicted of eating babies.
Piñata abuse has been going on since the 11th century, shortly after Marco Polo discovered Piñatas on a journey through China.
"Early Piñatas roamed free across the plains of China," said historian Megan Grace. "They were docile creatures, living off what grass and shrubs then could find. Their only natural enemy was the Yeti, which would climb down from the mountains in the night and leave with two or three Piñatas under his arms. He would devoured the Piñatas when he got back to his cave dwelling. This simple, peaceful life changed shortly after the arrival of Marco Polo."
|Free range Piñatas as they once lived in 12th century China. |
Marco Polo was amazed by these creatures, and even more amazed when he inadvertently broke one open. Said Polo in one of his journals:
"I have come across the strangest new breed of beast. Their bodies are covered in brightly colored fur and they have large cartoonish looking eyes. They are gentle in nature and do not seem to fear me when I approach. Their insides are a delicious treat, unlike anything I have eaten before. I shall name them Piñata, after the Greek word for 'papier-mâché animal filled with candy that is traditionally broken open at celebrations by hitting it with a stick'." When Marco Polo returned to wherever it was that he came from, he brought with him cages filled with Piñatas and great tales of free roaming Piñata herds.
Soon Piñata Fever swept across Europe, which was a welcome change from the Bubonic Plague that had previously been spreading. As the demand rose, so did the amount of Piñata hunters traveling to China. Soon the demand for Piñatas became so great that there just weren't enough free range Piñatas for Europe.
"It came to a point where hunting just could not supply enough Piñatas," said Grace. "That is when people began opening their own Piñata Farms, and when the true abuse began."
Piñata Farms vary widely in size. Some may house as many as 5,000 of these beasts, while small mom & pop farms may only have two or three. Piñatas are most often placed in small cages, sometimes stacked upon other cages or on poorly designed shelving that clearly does not meet required load balancing standards. Piñatas are fed daily a mixture of sugar and chocolate, which they find delicious but it often causes blindness, uncontrollable vomiting, headaches, neck pains, and erections that may last for over four hours. Their cages are often dirty and the Piñata Farms typically smell of urine and feecees. Few Piñatas ever experience life outside of their cages and as a result their legs become weak. It is not uncommon for the legs of a Piñata
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