Almost 6,000 dead pigs have been pulled out of Shanghai’s Huangpu River, according to Chinese officials.
Images of the bruised and bloated carcasses have been plastered across various social media websites since they first appeared last weekend, raising concerns about environmental pollution and agricultural practices.
The biggest immediate concern is related to the 23 million Shanghai residents relying on the river’s water supply. On-going tests show that the pigs were infected with porcine circovirus, although the reason for the dumping is still under debate.
Officials have insisted that the virus does not infect humans.
Overcrowded pens and unsanitary grounds are said to be the most likely cause of the infection. With confirmation that the pigs came from Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, Jiaxing Daily’s coverage
has reported that more than 18,000 pigs died in a single village at the start of this year.
The drifting dead pigs are also bringing these environmental problems directly to a ever more vocal urban elite. One local Shanghai resident Kai-Fu Lee posted on Sina Weibo how ‘we can open the window and have free cigarettes
’ and now ‘turn on our faucets and have pork chop soup!
Similarly, in response to official assurance that the pigs’ virus will not affect humans, lawyer Gan Yuanchun was quoted by the BBC as asking on his microblog, which “Mayor and water authority leaders…will be the first ones to drink this meat soup?”