Dead Pigs in River Number in the Thousands; Shanghai Residents' Drinking Water Affected?

Reports from China detail that over 2,000 pig carcasses have been removed from the Shanghai River since Friday as Chinese authorities maintain that the river's water, which provides water to 20 million Shanghai residents, is still safe to drink.

Tags located on the dead pigs indicated that they were from a facility that is located in the Huangpu River, which connects with other tributaries that flow through the middle of Shanghai, Xinhua, the state news agency, revealed.

It has not been made clear why the pig carcasses were in the river or how the pigs died, but speculation is surrounding that fact that a disease had killed thousands of pigs in a village south of Shanghai earlier this month and that these pigs could have been infected as well.

"We will continue to trace the source, investigate the cause, co-operate with neighboring areas and take measures to stop the dumping of pigs into rivers," the Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission said in a statement posted on their website on Monday.

But news of the masses of dead animals in a river that supplies water to millions of residents is not sitting well with those who get water from that river, given the already low confidence level many Chinese residents have with their government.

"Huangpu River is the source of drinking water for more than 20 million Shanghai residents. And this horrific incident was only made public when residents started posting pictures on Weibo," business investor Xue Manzi said in a post on his Sina Weibo account

Officials with the agricultural commission revealed that test samples from the dead pigs showed traces of a porcine circovirus, a common disease but one that is thought not to be fatal on its own. China has seen a large number of dead pigs in the past few months, with more than 20,000 having been estimated to have died, according to the Global Times.

Farmers in China are required by law to dispose of dead animals at community disposal sites or bury the carcasses with disinfectant.