Thousands of Dead Pigs Found in Shanghai River

by Lucy Hagger

Found this bizarre story earlier and had to post about it. Dead pigs everywhere!

Since Saturday, over 2800 dead pigs have been found floating in Huangpu river that flows into Shanghai. No one knows the root cause of this but there is reason to believe that they are coming from upstream farming regions. There have been increased cases of livestock death in many agricultural regions of China and many farmers simply dump the carcasses into the streams and rivers. The Chinese government do attempt to discourage this kind of carcass removal but evidently it is not working.

The Huangpu river supplies drinking water to over 23 million people in Shanghai; so thousands of dead floating pigs is cause for concern. Tests have been carried out and the presence of porcine circovirus has been confirmed. This is a virus that affects pigs but is non-infectious to humans, so there is no threat to human health. There has been no detection of infectious viruses like foot and mouth, pig cholera and E. coli; which is good. So the water can continue to be supplied to Shanghai.

Extensive removal efforts are taking place to rid the waterways of these bloated carcasses. 12 barges have been sent to handle the pig load and many workers sent in to remove the pigs. The stench of the dead pigs is being worsened by the intense heat and sunlight and many workers have had to leave due to feeling extreme sickness. Many reporters from the local area have experienced the same problem.

This is another example of China’s failing in managing the effects their rapid economic growth is having on the environment. In one village in a nearby province of Shanghai, over 20 000 pigs have been estimated to have died of unknown causes in the last 2 months alone. There is obviously something driving this huge death rate being seen in many rural areas of China.

However, this is not a new problem. Reports have stated that dead pigs are quite a common sight in these kinds of rivers, but the problem seems to be increasing in intensity. China already has compensation in place for these losses in pig stocks and is trying to prevent dumping of the pigs into the rivers. However, clearly this is not working and this problem is yet another factor that needs to be added to China’s ever increasing list of problems associated with their huge and rapid economic growth.