Imagine, a lovely waterside stroll, the sun dancing on the water, then something catches your eye…[car screech]…WTF? Are those pigs floating downstream, dead pigs? If you live in China the answer is, “You betcha!”
C’mon in, the water’s fine
One of China’s main water-ways this week was flooded with thousands, yes, thousands, of dead pigs. No one knows for sure how they got there or where they came from, but one thing they do know about is the water quality! Relax, because Chinese officials insist the water is okey dokey. Never mind that it is a cesspool of floating carcasses, black and bloated with death. So go ahead you silly nilly – the water’s fine – drink up! Take a swim!
BLT, but hold the B
Come to think of it, right after you’ve had your bacon and egg breakfast, why don’t you pack a picnic (BLTs and pork rind crisps would be a good choice) go on down to the river and watch, as men with giant hooks fish the bloated corpses of pigs out of the water. Don’t forget your barf bag.
But seriously, WTF? The theory is that the poor little piggies are believed to have originated from upriver farms after a series of investigations revealed illegal trade of meat harvested from diseased pigs. They are pretty sure because water quality tests along the river have identified traces of porcine circovirus, a virus that can affect pigs.
According to the NYT:
The surge in the dumping of dead pigs, believed to be from farms upriver in Zhejiang Province, followed police campaigns to curb the illicit trade of pork products harvested from diseased pigs. Shanghai authorities said that the city had taken proper measures to dispose of the pig carcasses safely and that water plants were stepping up efforts to disinfect public supplies and were testing for six common swine viruses.
Bloomberg put the pig-gate into perspective by reminding us it could be so much worse, alot worse:
There are worse things than learning, as the residents of Shanghai did this week, that the source of the water for your morning shower and tea was contaminated by at least 5,916 dead pigs. You might find out that lamb you ate for dinner was duck soaked in toxic chemicals. That those dumplings you had as a late-night snack were fried in oil recovered from a gutter running beside an open sewer. Or worse yet, that the baby formula you’ve fed your newborn is laced with a plasticizer that damages kidneys.
For Shanghai’s 20 million residents, and indeed for China’s entire population, these recurring food-safety nightmares from the backdrop to their daily lives.
So – unless you like getting jacked on clenbuterol, have a fondness for glow-in-the-dark Borax soaked pork infected with porcine circovirus – I’d pass on the bacon and the pig ears.
Read more about it:
- China: Dead Pigs in River Near 6,000
- Dissection of the Possible Routes on Porcine Circoviruses Infecting Human. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 11: 1281-1286
- Possible cross-species transmission of circoviruses and cycloviruses among farm animals
- Circovirus in Tissues of Dogs with Vasculitis and Hemorrhage
- Complete Genome Sequence of the First Canine Circovirus