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Panic over dead pigs in Shanghai river prompts satire (2)


18:41, March 14, 2013

"Dead pig" was among the top three most searched words or phrases at the Twitter-like microblogging service this week.


Farm animals that die of illness are often collected for free incineration or burial. Local governments in Jiaxing offer pig farmers an allowance of 80 yuan for every dead pig.

A decades-old practice for hog farmers, however, has been to dump carcasses into rivers or on rural roads.

In Jiaxing's Nanhu district, Xinhua reporters saw dead pigs being dumped near an incineration site that had been closed at the end of the day.

"The hog farmer was in a hurry to rid the dead animals and just didn't care what nuisance it would be for others," said an unnamed villager.

When pigs die of diseases, their keepers often dump the carcasses into the river, fearing others might find out about the disease and refuse to buy the animals from the farm, said a pig farmer in Xinfeng township of Nanhu district, who only gave his family name as Chen.

In the past when there were few pig farms, the carcasses were quickly eaten by fish and shrimps. "Nowadays, there are so many farms and dead pigs in the river becomes a serious environmental issue," said Chen.

Jiaxing has more than 100,000 pig farms that raise 7 million pigs. Annual pig sales total 4.5 million, half of which are sold to Shanghai.

The city has to dispose of 210,000 dead pigs each year, if calculated at the average death rate of 3 percent, said Yu Hongwei, deputy chief of the city's environmental protection bureau.

"More pigs have died so far this year, as a result of cold weather, pollution and negligence -- as pork has not sold as well as before," said Huang Ying, a pig farmer in Caoqiao township of Pinghu district.

Huang is one of the biggest pig farmers in the town, with 1,000 on her family farm.

"The death rate is particularly high among piglets, as many farmers think they are underpriced and use fodder and disinfectants very sparingly," she said.

Pigs in Huang's township are mostly sold to Shanghai. "There're so many pig farms that it stinks. Pig soil paves rural roads and dead animals are everywhere."

Jiaxing city authorities had planned to reduce the number of farm pigs to 2 million by 2015, but the move was widely criticized as it may affect pork supplies and cause price hikes in the Shanghai-centered Yangtze River Delta.

Despite the satire surrounding the incident pig farmers are facing problems.

【1】 【2】

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