December 23, 2008

Celebrity pig named animal of the year

A pig buried for 36 days beneath ruble from Sichuan's earthquake has been named China's most inspirational animal of 2008.

Zhu Jianqiang or Strong-Willed Pig bested six dogs, a bird, turtle and a cat to win the title in an online vote, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

The pig was discovered alive in the debris of a home June 17 -- more than five weeks after the quake killed an estimated 90,000 people in Sichuan.

The pig's owners say his weight had dropped from 330 pounds to 110 pounds on a diet of rain water and charcoal. Strong-Willed Pig has been sold to a private museum established to commemorate the quake, with the promise that he need never worry about being slaughtered, the Times reported.

The pig has regained his old weight -- and more, said one of his keepers:

We used to take it out for a walk every morning and afternoon, but now it's too lazy -- and too fat -- to do it. So we're feeding it only twice a day.