Another downside to factory farming
Floating tires, soda cans and cheeseburger wrappers are bad enough, but one thing I definitely don’t want to see floating down the river is pigs. Unfortunately pigs – thousands of them – are exactly what are popping up, or should I say floating up, all along the Huangpu River in China, which provides drinking water to Shanghai’s 23 million residents.
So far, city workers have retrieved more than 10,000 pig carcasses in Shanghai, and nearly 5,000 more carcasses have been found in a city just south of Shanghai called Jiaxing, where the pigs are suspected to have originated. Those are the official numbers. Jiaxing locals claim the number there is closer to 10,000 as well.
Here piggy, piggy
That’s between 15,000 and 20,000 dead hogs, depending on whose numbers you believe. Imagine going out fishing for the day and instead of hooking a large mouth bass, you hook a large, foul pig ass. How the heck are the people responsible for this getting away with it? This is something mobsters only dream of accomplishing.
Local officials blame the dumping on “pig farmers who lack awareness of laws and regulations.” To date, no arrests have been made.
These officials also said that some 70,000 more pigs in the area died last year because of the crude way they were raised. I’m sure that doesn’t mean pasture-raised, happy hogs.
This is just a hunch, but here’s how I imagine it went down… These hogs were packed in small cages, fed GM slop, pumped with antibiotics, and when their fat bodies couldn’t take it anymore, they stopped and died. That’s when the sick individuals who watch over them dumped their disease-ridden bodies in the river, in the dark of night, with no one watching. Or maybe the pigs couldn’t take it anymore – the confinement lifestyle and all the pollution – and tried to escape, like prisoners from Alcatraz. Either way, I think its fair to say confined animal feeding operations are to blame for the thousands of dead pigs bobbing around the river.
Between the river hogs and the antibiotic resistant ones, I’d think twice about eating sweet and sour pork, while in China.
Pig Soup Anyone?
According to the Washington Post, China’s head veterinarian said water samples from the river – which serves as the primary source of drinking source for the locals – have tested positive for the common porcine circovirus and the epidemic diarrhea virus.
But never mind what the veterinarian says; state officials say the tap water is fine. Not surprisingly the locals don’t believe them. I mean there are probably more dead pigs than live fish in the river. People are walking around with plastic over their clothes and respiratory masks over their faces.
The scandal has caused an uproar on the country’s popular microblog service, Sina Weibo:
“Since apparently, the water has not been contaminated, big leaders, please go ahead and have the first drink,” one blogger wrote.
“I finally figured out why drinking boiled water makes me gain weight — because it is in fact pork soup!” said another.
People in the city are scared and drinking bottled water as a precaution. I don’t blame them. Even though they’ve been trained to trust their government overlords, they don’t want to be the next ones found floating face down in the river.
Stop this from happening here
What can be done? That’s a good question, and I’ll leave it up to the Chinese, because 12,000 dead pigs floating in a river is out of even my realm of solutions. For those of us in the U.S. though, the best way to prevent this from happening is to know our farmers. Make sure they are practicing sustainable agriculture. Check out the place the little piggly wigglies live and the food they’re eating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t ask tough questions and start eating nasty meats, you could turn into a meatpig yourself. As always, eat free or die.
Brad Jordan, Food Riot Radio