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Fowl Play

Festival organisers have caused a flap in northern China by offering visitors the chance to shoot live chickens with bows and arrows.

Shocked bystanders watched on as the helpless birds were strung up by their feet in front of an ice wall at the winter show in Yanji, Jilin province, while punters took pot shots at them.

Some were left wounded and in agony when the amateur archers failed to kill them at the annual the ice and snow festival that aimed to make one of the ice exhibits more fun with the chicken shoot at the battlements of an ice castle.

The pictures were then posted live by the festival organisers who said even though it has sparked criticism over the way they were killed it had been the most popular attraction, with many people taking part.

"It's so cruel. It sickened me to see the white snow turn red with the chickens' blood.

"The poor things must have been terrified," said one.

"This is sick. Chickens are killed and eaten but normally in a humane way, in a civilised society people should not kill animals just for fun," added another.

But organisers have defended the stunt saying: "The game was very popular and people enjoyed it. We plan to do it again next year and the birds were not wasted, they were all eaten afterwards.

"The birds were all farm animals and would have died anyway. Why does it matter if it was an arrow or an axe?"

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