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China's Dead Pig Water Safe to Drink, According to Authorities

Over six thousand dead pigs have washed up in Shanghai’s Huangpu River. And it’s starting to smell. The wave of pig corpses began late last week. And to the terror of Shanghai’s millions of residents. 2013-03-13 10:46 AM EST
Over six thousand dead pigs.html">pigs have washed up in Shanghai’s Huangpu River. And it’s starting to smell. 

 

[Shen Guangqing, Cargo Vessel Crew Member]: 

"They (dead pigs.html">pigs) won't have a big influence on our navigation when we navigate on the water.html">waterway. But the problem is the bad smell. Dead pigs become putrid and stink after a long time floating in the river. When we navigate through the waterway, the smell is terrible, really terrible. It will have (a bad influence) on our breathing. When we breathe, it's really terrible."

 

The wave of pig corpses began late last week. And to the terror of Shanghai’s millions of residents, they were found in one of the city’s main water sources. 

 

But despite the rotting pigs and the foul smell, officials insist this water is safe to drink.

 

[Qian Huizhou, Deputy Director, Health Supervision Station]: 

"The residents can feel safe about their drinking water, according to the labs' sample-testing results. If there are any abnormal conditions, we will report to related government departments and adopt corresponding measures."

 

That hasn’t been much reassurance to Shanghai residents. Especially after a test found that a water sample from the Huangpu River contained porcine circovirus, a virus affecting pigs but harmless to humans. The virus was once thought to be mostly benign, but in 2008, researches at Purdue University discovered the virus had mutated into a more deadly form. 

 

Authorities say they're still find out where the pigs came from. For now, pig farms in Zhejiang’s Jiaxing City are being accused of dumping diseased pigs. 

 

On Monday, a Zhejiang agricultural official denied that the pigs died were killed by disease, but claimed instead that they froze to death.

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