Tags: dead | pigs | thousands | rot | river

Dead Pigs by the Thousands Rot in Chinese River, Provoking Outrage

By Alexandra Ward   |   Monday, 11 Mar 2013 02:39 PM

More than 2,800 dead pigs were discovered floating in the Huangpu River in China last week, provoking horror and outrage among Shanghai residents who say they weren't immediately informed of the carcasses rotting in their drinking water supply.

It's not yet clear why the dead pigs were dumped in the river or who is responsible for dumping them. Farmers are required by law to dispose of dead animals at disposal sites or bury them with disinfectant, Chen Yi, a veterinarian at the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told the Global Times, a state-run English-language newspaper. Tests conducted by the Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission suggest that the animals contracted a type of porcine circovirus.

"According to our records, 10,078 pigs died in January, another 8,325 died in February. More than 300 pigs die everyday in our village, and we barely have any space left to dispose of the dead pigs," a villager told a local newspaper in Jiaxing last week.

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Shanghai Waterworks, which manages the city's tap water, said Sunday night that the water still met drinking standards, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. Shanghai officials said the group is checking the water hourly.

"So far, water quality has not been affected, but we have to remove the pigs as quickly as possible and can't let their bodies rot in the water," Xu Rong, the director of Shanghai’s Songjiang District Environmental Protection Bureau, told Global Times Sunday night.

But residents are outraged that they weren’t informed of the problem sooner.

"Huangpu river is the source of drinking water for more than 20 million Shanghai residents. And this horrific incident was only made public when residents started posting pictures on Weibo," business investor Xue Manzi said on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging site.

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China has long struggled to find a solution to its pollution problems. Emissions from factories and heating plants, fumes from millions of vehicles, and the burning of coal bricks to heat homes often form a trifecta of hazardous smog.

Related stories:

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Chinese Media Demands Action on Air Pollution

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