More than 7,500 dead pigs found in Shanghai's Huangpu River

As Shanghai workers retrieve carcasses from the Huangpu, the party chief in Jiaxing - the source of dumped stock - steps down

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 March, 2013, 4:19am

The number of dead pigs found in Shanghai's Huangpu River rose to more than 7,500 as workers retrieved another 944 yesterday, Shanghai's municipal government said.

In addition to closer monitoring of water quality, municipal food supervisors launched spot checks on pork in markets to prevent the use of dumped pig carcasses.

In a statement on Sina weibo yesterday, the government insisted that water quality was normal, and no pork of unknown origin has been found in markets. The area where the carcasses were found was the source for nine water plants, which provide 22 per cent of the municipality's drinking water.

It said all the pigs retrieved had either been incinerated or buried in seven-metre deep holes with quicklime.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring city of Jiaxing, the source of the carcasses, said it had a new Communist Party chief.

At a Jiaxing government meeting on Wednesday, the resignation of the city's party secretary, Li Weining, was announced. He will become the Zhejiang provincial government's secretary general and be succeeded by Jiaxing mayor and deputy party chief Lu Jun.

A staff member at the Jiaxing municipal party committee's general office denied the move had anything to do with the latest scandal.

"It was decided a long time ago," he said. "The Zhejiang Daily published the provincial party committee's decision about the transfer half a month ago to solicit public opinion. It's just the timing for the announcement was bad."

As the search went on for more dead pigs in the Huangpu River, similar problems were reported in a branch of the Yangtze River in Hubei .

Thirty-eight dead pigs, mostly young ones, were found in a section of the Wulong River in Yichang's Dianjun district, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Local authorities were still checking where they had come from and emphasised that water from the river was used only for irrigation, it said.

Yichang police said on their Sina microblog yesterday that preliminary investigations had showed they were dumped by pig farmers.

An official from Shanghai's city environment authority was quoted by the Xinmin Weekly as saying that dead pigs floating in the Huangpu River had been a problem for more than a decade.

The number usually rose in late spring and early summer, and in late summer and early autumn, it said.

Several farmers in Jiaxing have said that a black market for dead pigs existed in the past couple of years, adding to public concerns that pork from dead pigs was finding its way onto dinner tables.

The city produced more than 4.6 million pigs last year, with 1.5 million going to Shanghai and the rest mainly to Suzhou in Jiangsu province, a report on Jiaxing Daily's website said on Wednesday.

The report said one farmer, tracked down from the ear label of a pig retrieved by Shanghai workers, had admitted throwing dead pigs in the river.

The report that of the other 13 ear labels Shanghai officials found and sent to the Jiaxing government, seven were not complete and could not be traced, while the rest were being checked.

Additional reporting by Alice Yan