In China’s Rivers, 13,000 Dead Pigs (And Counting)

It's been more than a week since Shanghai authorities began pulling dead pigs from that city's water source. More than 13,000 pigs have been collected so far, but there may be more.

Pigs in China

It’s been more than a week since Shanghai authorities began pulling dead pigs from that city’s water source. More than 13,000 pigs have been collected so far, but there may be more.

The dead pigs have been found floating in the Huangpu River, which supplies twenty percent of Shanghai’s drinking water. Every day, workers find hundreds more and pull them onto barges for proper disposal elsewhere.

Many of the pigs have tested positive for porcine circovirus. While the virus doesn’t seem to kill pigs on its own, it makes them more susceptible to other infections, most significantly, a slow wasting syndrome.

The porcine circovirus does not affect humans or other animals. Rotting carcasses can affect the quality of the water supply, although Shanghai officials claim that thorough testing indicates the water is as safe as ever.

The region upriver from Shanghai has been suffering from the porcine circovirus in recent months. It is suspected, but not proven, that the pigs come from many small farms, rather than a large industrial operation.

The video below shows images from the Huangpu River and the farms upriver.

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