Jiaxing City government insisted that not all of the dead pigs that Shanghai retrieved from the Huangpu River were dumped by its pig farmers, officials said during a press conference late last night.
The number of dead pigs pulled from the Huangpu River reached 8,354 after another 809 carcasses were retrieved yesterday. Two-thirds of those collected yesterday were piglets, Shanghai officials said.
Zhao Shumei, vice mayor of Jiaxing in neighboring Zhejiang Province, said Jiaxing had collected 3,601 dumped dead pigs as of yesterday, and 80 percent of them were piglets.
She insisted that the survival rate of pigs raised in Jiaxing was normal.
Among the 17 ear tags recovered from the dead pigs provided by the Shanghai government, 13 have been identified.
Zhao said ear tags were attached to pigs after they were vaccinated for the first time. However, pigs could be sold elsewhere. The dead pigs, even with the ear tags from Jiaxing, might not have been raised or dumped by Jiaxing farmers, Zhao explained.
Jiaxing officials said their city raised a large number of pigs in very dense conditions. Poor breeding environments, lagging skills at small pig farms and the freezing weather this winter and spring led to large numbers of deaths, especially for piglets that were more vulnerable to cold.
Zhao also admitted that some local pig farmers were poorly informed about laws and dumped dead pigs without a second thought. Most of the retrieved pigs died more than 15 days ago, suggesting it was not a sudden, recent event.
Shanghai boosts treatment capacity
Shanghai agricultural authorities said yesterday that the city is upgrading its capacity for environmentally sound treatment of animal carcasses. Also, another animal carcass biological treatment center will be built in Chongming County within two years.
Monitoring found no serious infectious diseases among local pigs or large-scale pig deaths in Shanghai, city spokesman Xu Wei said.
Authorities also didn't detect local farmers discarding dead pigs in the Huangpu River.
Shanghai has been the first provincial-level government in the nation to set up an animal carcasses biological treatment center in 2002. The city bought 16 sealed animal carcasses transportation vehicles to collect carcasses from farms in 2008.
The center has one incinerator and one biological treatment system, while expansion of another incinerator is slated to be done before April.
The city started to offer subsidies to farmers for pig carcasses last year to ensure all such carcasses were sent to the official processing network. Farmers can get 80 yuan (US$12.7) for each pig.