Organisers at an outdoor fair near a nature park in Zhejiang's Wenzhou city were forced to scrap a game involving shooting live chickens after photos of the unfortunate birds were shared online and caused a public outcry, the Wenzhou-based Metropolis Daily reported.
A vendor had earlier invited fair-goers to shoot the live chickens with a bow and arrow. Competitors got two shots for 10 yuan and accurate archery was rewarded with the carcases of any chickens they nailed.
The vendor later told Chinese media that he had decided to use live chickens to spice up the game and attract customers during Lunar New Year festivities, when many visitors came to the park.
Yet the plan backfired after a tourist shared photos he took of the game on Weibo this week, where they triggered a fierce debate.
Critics, who dominated the discussion, said it was brutal to use live animals as targets, even though chicken is considered edible as "poultry".
"Humans are heartless," one microblogger wrote.
"But isn't it also brutal to cull chicken and eat them?," another questioned, "It's OK if we just hide all this from the kids?"
An online poll conducted by Tencent showed that 14,829, or 67 per cent, of all takers agreed to ban the game as of Friday morning.
A spokesperson at Green Eyes, a Wenzhou-based environment protection organisation, told the Wenzhou Metropolis Daily that China had not passed any animal protection laws, so it therefore fell upon individuals to treat animals in a humane way.