Fists and pig guts fly as Taiwan politicians fight over pork imports – National
Taiwan saw perhaps the gutsiest political battle in its history on Friday, when lawmakers stopped using their words and started throwing fists and pig intestines in a bizarre parliament brawl.
The chaotic melee broke out during a demonstration against U.S. pork and beef imports on Friday, following months of sizzling tension between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).
Members of the KMT dumped buckets of pig organs on the floor of parliament early Friday, just as Taiwan’s premier was scheduled to speak about pork and beef imports.
DPP members tried to stop the KMT lawmakers from making a scene, and soon the fists and pork guts were flying.
The fight played out in front of a large audience of journalists, many of whom captured it on video.
The videos show lawmakers grappling with each other over the piles of pig organs. Some threw punches. Some threw guts. Others blared air horns, blew whistles, waved signs or simply shouted.
It was a mess.
The pork punch-up was over a new import policy announced in August by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. She declared that Taiwan would begin importing U.S. pork products containing ractopamine, a controversial additive that promotes the growth of lean meat.
Canada, the U.S. and many other countries put ractopamine in feed to beef up their livestock, but it’s been banned in China and the European Union.
Taiwan opposition parties have seized on the fears of ractopamine to drum up support against the ruling DPP. They’ve encouraged protests, including a march involving thousands last weekend.
Many KMT lawmakers were wearing T-shirts and holding signs with anti-ractopamine slogans in parliament on Friday.
The DPP condemned the protests, saying in a statement that the “disgusting” pig guts “stank up” the parliament floor.
They also described the fight as a waste of food.
—With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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