China youth embrace strange stress-relief trend of touching buttocks of sheep

A peculiar trend has emerged among young people in China who are seeking stress relief – travelling to fields and livestock markets to touch the buttocks of sheep.

In June, markets in northwest China’s Xinjiang were crowded with tourists eagerly waiting to engage in the unusual practice, as sheep secured with nylon ropes stood in rows waiting to be traded.

As tourists walked past the animals, the sound of patting and laughter could be heard.

It transpired that many mainland social media posts have suggested visiting markets to touch sheep buttocks in Xinjiang.

A tourist shared on Xiaohongshu that the animals’ rumps feel bouncy and soft, and claimed that touching them is “incredibly addictive”.

The strange stress-relieving trend has seen young people flock to farms to touch the rears of sheep. Photo: Shutterstock

In a video, a person is seen patting a sheep’s rear end and saying: “This is really stress-relieving.”

“I flew five hours to Xinjiang just to pat sheep buttocks because this experience is impossible to have in a busy city,” another person said.

On Xiaohongshu, people also shared guides that detailed shepherds’ hospitality, the sheep breeds for a better touching sensation, optimal patting angles and intensity levels.

One online observer, @yuyuan, suggested tourists appreciate the silent consent of sheep, which brings joy to humans: “Please pat gently,” she said.

Most shepherds seem to accept the fad, although some express mixed feelings.

One said that, while he welcomed increased tourism for its economic benefits, he was concerned about excessive numbers of visitors.

“Too many people touching the rear ends of sheep can trigger depression in the animals. People do not care about them, they only care about themselves,” he said.

An expert told the Post the factors behind the increasing popularity of the trend.

“Young people are trying to break free from the constraints of daily life through unconventional means,” said Zhang Yong, a psychologist at Wuhan University of Science and Technology in central China.

“However, blindly following trends is not advisable. This behaviour reveals a lack of respect for animals and people should pursue other reasonable forms of entertainment,” he added.

Others online have also warned of the potential health risks.

One online user @xiaomarichang shared on Xiaohongshu a photo of herself touching sheep and later reported having diarrhoea and vomiting.

A popular location to practise the peculiar pastime is Xinjiang in northern China. Photo:

She was told it might be due to harmful bacteria on the farm animals because sheep pens are littered with excrement.

The trend has sparked a heated discussion on mainland social media.

“We just lightly pat the sheep’s buttocks without causing harm to the animals, and the shepherds are agreeable. It’s an interesting way to relax,” one online observer said on Xiaohongshu.

“I feel sorry for these sheep. If they could speak, they might feel harassed,” said another.

“I hope local shepherds can implement rules, such as limiting the number of people touching the sheep every day, so they will not get too tired,” wrote someone else.



Read More

Leave a Reply