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article image1,000 dead ducks found in Chinese river after pig clean up

By Anne Sewell     Mar 25, 2013 in World
Meishan - As the clean up of around 16,000 pig carcasses nears its end in southwest China's Sichuan province, now 1,000 dead ducks have been pulled from the Nanhe River in Meishan City, Pengshan County.
The rotting carcasses were found by residents in Meishan City, floating downstream in 50 to 60 woven plastic bags.
Liang Weidong, deputy director of Pengshan County's publicity office told China National Radio that the ducks have been disinfected with lime and buried 3 meters underground.
Liang said that the ducks were believed to have washed downstream and accumulated in the Pengshan section of the river due to lack of water in the dry season. Although Liang said that the ducks' origins are still unknown, he warned farmers who discard their dead ducks in public places that they would face heavy punishment.
Reportedly, officials could not determine a cause of death as some of the ducks were already decomposed.
Residents in the area are naturally concerned, but Liang insists that these carcasses “pose no threat to humans or livestock along the banks of the river”, which is not a drinking water source.
However one microblogger on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, asked, “How can you tell they are harmless when you don’t know how the ducks died?”
Another posted on a more humorous note saying “First it was pork soup, now duck soup is available.”
And yet another, "The dead pigs haven't even disappeared yet, and now the dead ducks emerge - does this society enjoy being competitive?"
The latest incident comes as the number of dead pigs pulled from China's Huangpu River went over 16,000. The first incident sparked national health and safety concerns, as 22% of Shanghai's drinking water comes from the Huangpu.
On top of this, the origin of the pig carcasses is still a mystery, with Shanghai insisting that its farms have not reported an epidemic that could kill pigs in such large numbers.
However, the Financial Times is reporting that the pigs are believed to have floated to Shanghai from the pig-rearing city of Jiaxing in neighboring Zhejiang province. Apparently a local newspaper reported that the reason for the carcasses being dumped in the river was that the government had cracked down on illegal traders who bought dead pigs to make dumpling filling. This then left farmers with no other way to dispose of the dead pigs apart from river disposal, which is all well and good, but this still does not explain how so many died.
News.com.au is reporting, however, that samples of the pig carcasses have tested positive for porcine circovirus, a common swine disease that does not affect humans.
On Sunday, a statement was released by the government that the work of fishing out the dead pigs was “basically finished.”
However, as this crisis ends another begins, with yet another member of Sina Weibo saying, "The dead ducks in Pengshan River present us with a very practical problem, and show how society's bottom line is getting lower and lower."
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