Thousands of dead pigs have been pulled from a river near Shanghai this past week, which has raised concerns over the water supply, according to The Associated Press.
“Well, since there supposedly is no problem in drinking this water, please forward this message, if you agree, to ask Shanghai’s party secretary, mayor and water authority leaders if they will be the first ones to drink this meat soup?” lawyer Gan Yuanchun said on his verified microblog.
According to Shanghai officials, the number of pig carcasses removed the river totals 2,813. The city’s government also said that the drinking water has not been contaminated based on reports they received from monitoring authorities.
The Agriculture Committee of Shanghai said they do not know what has caused the pigs to die, but one pig was found with a sometimes-fatal disease. This disease is associated with the porcine circovirus. This is found in pigs, but it does not affect livestock or humans.
The government noted that the pigs came from Jiaxing city in the Zhejiang province and have not discovered an epidemic.
“This is the water we are drinking,” Huang Beibei, a resident of Shanghai, wrote. “What is the government doing to address this? Though the government says the water is safe, at least I do not believe it — given the number of the pigs in the river. These pigs have died from disease,” Huang said.
Authorities believe the pigs were dumped into the river after a police clampdown on illegal trade of contaminated pork. Pigs that die from disease are supposed to be buried or incinerated in China, but some farmers and animal control officers sell them to slaughterhouses instead.
“Ever since the police have stepped up efforts to crack down on the illicit market of sick pigs since last year, no one has come here to buy dead pigs, and the problem of pig dumping is worse than ever this year,” an unnamed villager told the Jiaxing Daily newspaper, which is run by the local Communist Party.
Wang Xianjun, a government worker for Zhulin village, said that there were 10,078 dead pigs in January and 8,325 in February. “We have limited land in the village,” he said. “We do not have that much land for burial.”
A professor from the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Renmin University in Beijing, Zheng Fengtian, said, “According to the law, dead pigs must be burned or buried, but if there is not enough regulatory monitoring, it’s possible some of them will be sold into the market at low prices,” he said.