The thousands of dead pigs dumped in the Huangpu River that runs through Shanghai points to a culture of business based on “mutual mutilation,” and a lack of regulation by communist authorities, according to experts.
In the past week, more than 6,000 swine carcasses have been fished out of the river, a major source of Shanghai’s drinking water. Some had died from porcine circovirus, according to state media Xinhua, with upstream villages in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, identified as one of the sources.
Mr. Yu, a former Jiaxing farm worker, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that numerous farmers are using excessive antibiotics. “It has seriously lowered the animals’ immunity,” he said. “Once a pig gets sick, the virus becomes resistant, and many pigs will get infected and die.”
The abuse of antibiotics has become commonplace due to poor supervision and inspection by local authorities, Mr. Yu added.
A team of Chinese and U.S. researchers recently found 149 antibiotic-resistant genes in pig feces, and soil samples collected from farmland in four Chinese cities, including Jiaxing.
Local farmers often add toxic ingredients like copper and arsenic to swine feed to make the animals grow faster and look healthier, according to a report by Caijing Magazine.
The report said excessive use of antibiotics and heavy metals as feed additives has made domestic pork unsafe for human consumption, and these toxins have also seeped into the soil, contaminating groundwater, drinking water, and crops.
In Zhulin, Jiaxing’s largest pig farming village, 10,078 pigs died in January, and 8,325 in February, the Jiaxing Daily reported.
Jiang Yinhua, a resident of the village, told The Epoch Times that there are dead pigs throughout the village. “The ground is covered with pig manure, and the stench is awful,” she said. “Some farmers just dump the carcasses on the road when no one is looking.”
Jiang’s husband believes the real number of dead animals is higher than official figures. “Every day pigs are dying in each pork-farming family. The number must be higher, or they wouldn’t have thrown the pigs into the river,” he said.
Villagers started noticing an increase in pig deaths at the end of last year, and they all died from a contagious disease, Mr. Li, a Zhulin pig farmer, told RFA.
In the past, larger diseased pigs that died often ended up on the dinner table via illegal channels, according to a report by Shanghai-based Xinmin.cn. After a crackdown last year, diseased pig meat is now less likely to be sold, which is why many farmers just throw the bodies away.
Jiaxing farmers have been dumping carcasses into the river rather than paying to dispose of them. In a recent article, prominent economist He Qinglian said such beggar-thy-neighbor behaviors have become troublingly common in China.
Chinese now rarely consider other people’s wellbeing, and often make profits at others’ expense, Ms. He wrote in her article that asked whether “mutual mutilation” had become a “way of life” for Chinese people. “The production of hazardous foods in China is realized through a chain of behaviors that harm others,” she said.
“From raw material suppliers and food processors, to farmers and individual food makers, everyone is involved,” Ms. He wrote. She said at the root of the problem is a deteriorating environment, distorted business ethics, and a corrupt political system
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