Mysterious Pig Carcass Pile Washes Up In Chinese Drinking Water

By Sean Kane , Mar 11, 2013 10:40 AM EDT

Why are thousands of pigs washing up on the shores of China’s Huangpu River?

Over 2,000 pig carcasses have been found floating in the river, leading to government criticism from bloggers and state-run media.

Workers are laboring at night to remove the thousands of pigs from the water, using pitchforks to lift the bloated bodies floating in the river.

“We have to act quickly to remove them all for fear of causing water pollution,” environmental official Xu Rong told the Global Times, a state-run paper.

The Huangpu River is a major source of drinking water for nearby Shanghai. State officials claim that the influx of the floating carcasses has not affected the water supply, and that they’ve been closely monitoring the river.

Why are the pigs ending up in the river? Local reports suggest that they might have come from farms in the Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai. The pigs first began to appear in the river on Thursday, reported the BBC. It will still take a few days to determine the cause of death for the pigs.

But while officials are searching for the cause of the influx of pig carcasses, Chinese citizens are voicing their concerns on what they view as a gross public health violation.

“Is this water still drinkable after dead pigs were found floating in it?” citizen Liu Wanqing told China Daily, another state run newspaper. “The government has a responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation and provide safe water to residents.”

The government has not discovered anything hazardous in the water (other than pig carcasses), and claims that the river’s water is still safe to drink. Not everyone is satisfied by this answer, though, and is wary of the drinking water.

“Well, since there supposedly is no problem in drinking this water,” lawyer Gan Yuanchun wrote on his blog, “please forward this message, if you agree, to ask Shanghai’s party secretary, mayor and water authority leaders if they will be the first ones to drink this meat soup?”

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