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March 14, 2013

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Jiaxing pig farm dumped carcasses into Huangpu

The number of dead pigs recovered from the Huangpu River in Shanghai rose above 6,600 after another 685 carcasses were plucked out of the waters as of yesterday afternoon.

The Shanghai government said it will move its fishing team further upstream to the border of Zhejiang Province to prevent water pollution.

It said more fishing boats were put into action over fears that yesterday's rain may increase the flow of the river downstream.

Meanwhile, a pig farm in Zhejiang's Jiaxing City yesterday confessed to dumping dead pigs into the Huangpu River, Xinhua news agency reported without naming the farm or giving any specific number of dead pigs it had dumped into the water.

The admission came after a preliminary investigation traced the birthplace of some of the dead pigs found floating in a section of the Huangpu River between Shanghai and Jiaxing, the Jiaxing government said.

Shanghai has provided 14 ear tags collected from the dead pigs, and Jiaxing is still investigating 13 of these tags, Xinhua said.

According to the Jiaxing government, a total of 70,000 pigs died due to crude raising techniques and extreme weather at the beginning of the year. All the collected corpses were disposed of safely, and no mass swine epidemic had broken out in the region so far.

Porcine circovirus was detected during previous tests carried out by the Shanghai Animal Diseases Control and Prevention Center.

Jiaxing has more than 100,000 households who raise pigs. The city accounts for a quarter of the pigs raised in Zhejiang Province and sells about 4.5 million pigs every year.

According to the animal husbandry department of Jiaxing, the normal fatality rate of pigs is about 3 percent, which means 135,000 pigs die every year.

The current 600 treating sites in Jiaxing are not enough to meet the big number of dead pigs, and many of the villagers dump the bodies in the fields or into the river, according to the Oriental Morning Post.

Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture unveiled a policy to offer an 80 yuan (US$1.29) subsidy for every dead pig given to the government for safe disposal but Jiaxing villagers said they never got any.

Meanwhile, Shanghai has dispatched more than 230 boats to its Jinshan and Qingpu districts and strict monitoring is being carried out in the waters crisscrossing between Shanghai and its neighboring provinces.

Shanghai has also set up an aquatic plant barrier in Songjiang District and increased the frequency of water quality checks. Circovirus, which was detected in the dead pigs, has been added as a key indicator in water quality monitoring. Streptococcus suis, salmonella and Escherichia coli O157 were also being tested in the city water.

Officials said the dead pigs mainly affected six water intakes and nine water plants in Songjiang, Jinshan, Minhang and Fengxian districts.

The water supply of the affected intakes and plants was 2.41 million tons per day, accounting for 22 percent of the city's total. But officials said the quality of water after purification was up to the national sanity standard.

All the carcasses would be biologically treated before they are buried or incinerated, the Shanghai Agricultural Commission said.

About 400 pigs were buried in the past four days in Langxia Town in Jinshan District.

The burial pits, which are 7 meters deep, were sprayed with quicklime before and after the burial. They were covered with 3 meters of mud.

The commission also transported two vehicular incinerators to deal with bodies that needed to be treated immediately in emergency situations.

To ensure food safety, the Jinshan District government carried out inspections at 30 supermarkets, 43 wet markets and 165 pork retailers, while Fengxian District checked 25 livestock and poultry farms. They were all found to be safe.


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