Update: (March 13th, 2013) - By Tuesday evening nearly 6,000 pigs had been removed from the river.
Concerns about environmental pollution and water and food safety have led to a public outcry. The Shanghainese are particularly concerned about pollution because urban industrialization has brought with it serious environmental problems.
According to Chinese media reports, the animals were most likely dumped in the Huangpu river in Zheijiang province. Shanghai blogs and environmental groups expect the number of dead pigs found to rise considerably.
According to the Global Times, a Chinese daily newspaper, dead pigs were also found on the roadside in Xinfeng town, Nanhu district, Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province. The newspaper quotes locals saying they found carcasses that appeared to have been thrown randomly into the bushes in the area.
The Huangpu River flows through downtown Shanghai and is an important source of water for the city
How did so many dead pigs end up in a river?Blogs and websites in Shanghai and the immediate area are wondering openly how so many animals ended up floating in a river. As a number of them were found floating in the upper end of the Huangpu River, concern has grown - this is a major source of tap water for Minhang, Fengxian and Songjiang districts.
The Globe quoted a microblog belonging to an official of the Shanghai Municipal Government which explained that over 2,800 pig carcasses have been removed from the upper reaches of the Huangpu River by Shanghai City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation Administration workers.
The local water authority says it is now testing the water 6 times a day, and says that so far the water is not contaminated.
According to www.xinmin.cn, the first dead pigs were found near a local water treatment plant in the Hengliaojing Creek last Thursday.
Government laboratories in Shanghai say that after testing five pigs' carcasses, one of them tested positive for porcine circovirus (PCV). PCV is a common virus in pigs that is found worldwide.
There are two types of PCV:
- Porcine circovirus Type 1 (PCV1) - recognized for several decades. It is a common contaminant of laboratory cell cultures. Despite being common in commercial swine globally, it does not cause illness (it is nonpathogenic).
- Porcine circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) - its emergence coincided with the occurrence of post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), a new clinical syndrome of swine. PCV2 and PMWS are common among commercial swine worldwide.
An expert (who preferred not to be named), in an interview with Global Times wondered whether the pigs might be carrying other diseases which affect humans, such as salmonella.
Written by Christian Nordqvist