Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dead pigs in China river spotlight heedless industry

John Ruwitch and Niu Shuping in Reuters: The rotting bodies of about 6,000 pigs in a river that supplies tap water to Shanghai has drawn attention to an ugly truth - China's pig farms are often riddled with disease and one way or another, sick animals often end up in the food chain.

Authorities have found traces of a common pig virus in some of the animals floating in the Huangpu River this week, and industry insiders say farmers likely dumped them, common in an industry which has no system of compensation for losses from disease.

"There is no mechanism by which, whenever diseases are found among pigs, the government compensates pig breeders so as to control the spread of diseases or compensate pig breeders for losses," said Feng Yonghui, general manager at pig-industry research organization

To make matters worse, Feng said insurance companies were unwilling to insure pig breeders because the risks were so high. On Wednesday, workers on barges and on the riverbank used pitchforks to drag bloated dead pigs out of the river...

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