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Visitors rough on sheep

HEADS cracked or missing, ears dropped, tails broken and paint peeling. The cute sheep models at the Netherlands Pavilion, where the theme is "Happy Street," seem miserable.

The pavilion's management never expected that the "sheep," intended to last the entire Expo, could get so damaged in a month.

"I'm speechless when seeing tourists treating those poor little sheep in such horrible ways," said visitor Fang Xuesong, of Shanghai. "I think many people should have a lesson on public manners."

The 100 or so statues of sheep, the pavilion's real attraction, stand in the green field near the main entrance.

Nearly half are damaged and can no longer be used.

"So far I don't have the exact statistics, but the situation is really awful," said a staff worker.

"They are designed as chairs for people to sit on and play with and even have a nice picnic, but they should be treated gently, politely and in a friendly way."

Instead, tourists have been hanging their heavy bags on the sheep horns, dragging them back and forth, slapping them violently and even sleeping on them with feet put over the sheep's heads.

It has been common to see one tiny sheep carrying two to three adults on its back. Or to see children throwing the sheep to the ground and kicking it to move just for fun, while their parents watch encouragingly.

"These models are made of plastic and hollow inside," the staffer said. "It cannot bear such great violence."

The sheep statues were designed to be used for six months. "But it seems that most of them can no longer survive after the first month of the Expo's opening," she said. "We knew there would be some damage, but we didn't expect it would be so great in such a short period of time."

A new batch of sheep statues has been made and painted and will soon be brought to the pavilion's green floor.


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