The Ministry of Agriculture has sent a team led by its chief veterinarian to instruct on the treatment of dead pigs in Zhejiang after more than 8,000 carcasses were pulled out of the Huangpu River in neighbouring Shanghai.
In a statement posted on its Sina Weibo microblog yesterday, Shanghai's municipal government said 809 dead pigs were retrieved yesterday, two-thirds of them young ones.
It emphasised that no epidemics had occurred among Shanghai-raised pigs recently and no dumping of dead pigs had been found in the municipality.
Some pig farmers in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, which the Shanghai government believes is the source of the dead hogs, have sought to shift the blame to farms in Shanghai's Songjiang district, where the floating carcasses were first found at the beginning of the month.
The search for more dumped pigs is continuing in Shanghai. Meanwhile, more than 30 dead pigs have been found in the Wei River in Xianyang, Shaanxi, local media reported.
The city's animal disease control authority retrieved eight pigs on Thursday, Xianyang Today reported yesterday. The carcasses were highly decomposed and authorities could not tell where they had come from, it said.
Thirty-eight dead pigs, mostly young ones, were found in a section of the Wulong River in Yichang, Hubei, on Wednesday.
Officials from the agriculture ministry arrived in Jiaxing on Thursday to "urge and guide" local departments to treat dead pigs scientifically, Jiaxing Daily's website reported yesterday.
At a meeting with Jiaxing's city government yesterday, the ministry's chief veterinarian, Yu Kangzhen, told local departments to "spare no efforts" in preventing the use of dead pigs and ensuring the safety of pork.
He urged Jiaxing to cool off the incident as soon as possible and avoid the casual disposal of animal carcasses in the future.
The ministry has also notified local governments across the country to keep a closer eye on animal epidemic prevention and ensure no deceased animals entered the market, Xinhua reported yesterday.
However, neither Jiaxing nor Shanghai have found out which pig farms the dead pigs retrieved from the Haungpu River came from.
Pig farmers from a village in Jiaxing told the China Business News that the dead hogs could have been dumped by farmers in Songjiang.
"Since government employees would come to us to collect them, we wouldn't throw the dead pigs in rivers," one villager was quoted as saying.
Some doubted the possibility of dead pigs floating down to the Huangpu River if they were dumped in local rivers.
One internet user even suggested conducting an experiment and dumping something similar to dead pigs to see whether they could finally arrive in the Huangpu River.
"If yes, see how long this process takes and what is the percentage that make it," he wrote on his microblog.