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Thousands of dead pigs float in Chinese river

| Monday, March 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

BEIJING — In Shanghai, China's sparkling business capital, something unpleasant is drifting downstream.

Thousands of dead pigs have been found in the Huangpu River since last week. A report on the Chinese news portal Xinmin.cn said that 3,323 dead pigs had been found through Sunday night.

The river is a source of drinking water for 23 million residents in the city.

Shanghai authorities said they believed flotilla of pigs came from neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and had been dumped in the river after they died.

More than 20,000 pigs are reported to have died since the beginning of this year in Jiaxing alone, where a pig breeding facility is located about 50 miles west of Shanghai at the upper reaches of the Huangpu River.

According to environmentalists, it is illegal for farmers to dump dead animals in the river, but the practice remains common.

“This is obviously threatening the local water resources,” said Ma Jun, a leading environmental expert. “Usually, we see dead livestock in the river during the flooding season, but this is a different case and the numbers are large.”

Shanghai authorities have sent out patrol boats to collect the pig carcasses from the river in Songjiang, a neighborhood of Shanghai to the southwest, before they can drift into the city center.

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