Pig Dumping and China’s Illegal Pig Trade

China Dead Pigs_Leff.jpg
Photo Source: Image Provided by Fox News available at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/11/china-pulls-out-2800-adult-baby-pigs-from-shanghai-river-after-contaminated/

“A surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai – with more than 2,800 carcasses floating into the financial hub through Monday – has followed a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts.” The government’s effort to keep this infected pork off tables has sparked new fears among the Shanghai residents over the possibility of contamination of the city’s water supply. Despite the 2,813-pig tally, the government vehemently denied any contamination of the water quality. “Shanghai’s Agriculture Committee said authorities don’t know what caused the pigs to die, but that they have detected a sometimes-fatal pig disease in at least one of the carcasses.” The disease they found is associated with the porcine circovirus, which the committee contends does not affect humans or other livestock. Despite these comments, there are still 2,800 pigs that may be holding other diseases that are dangerous to the water supply.

This situation was first brought to the public eye, when Huang Beibei, a lifetime resident of Shanghai, posted photos of the pig carcasses to his blog. He wrote, “this is the water we are drinking…what is the government doing to address this?” He raises a good point, this seems like this could be a problem that will eventually lead to health concerns down the line, despite the government’s current denials.

China’s Ministry of Public Security has made efforts to resolve this food safety problem a priority, as gangs have purchased diseased pigs and subsequently processed them for illegal profits. These measures have been successful and led to arrests and confiscations. Despite the increased successful efforts to crack down on these gangs and curtail the illegal trade of contaminated pork, the problem of pig dumping has been worse than ever.


1)    What do you think the government should do?

2)    Should they be more concerned about these dead carcasses flooding the water supply?

3)    What do you believe can be done for by the government to enable it to continue its fight against the illegal pig trade, while also properly regulating the disposal of dead pigs to ensure the safe water supply of Shanghai’s citizens?


Source: Fox News



  1. I believe that it is important that the situation be brought into the public eye and that the media caught sight of and continues to bring attention to the illegal trade of sick pig parts and the subsequent problem of pig dumping.

    Although China’s Ministry of Public Security has tried to resolve the issue of food safety, it leads to a bigger issue: how the Chinese government plans on “crack[ing] down on gangs that purchase dead diseased pigs and process them for illegal profits.”

    Although Zhejiang police have been campaigning on their website to eliminate unsafe pork meat from the market, and arrested 12 suspects last year, confiscating nearly 12 tons of pork meat, “[e]ver since the police have stepped up efforts to crack down on the illicit market of sick pigs since last year, no one has come here to buy dead pigs, and the problem of pig dumping is worse than ever this year.”

    Because the law in China states that dead pigs must be burned or buried, perhaps the Chinese government should assist the farmers in Zhejiang with pig disposal.

  2. I read in a more recent article that the total of pigs dumped has increased to more than 6,600! I am surprised that the Shanghai government is not doing more to protect its citizens. These sickly pig carcasses have the potential to contaminate major water supplies and lead to widespread sickness that could then reach other neighboring countries. The government needs to implement a more involved approach, at least temporarily, in order to control the dumping of dead pigs. Apparently, authorities believe that the pigs are being dumped by swine farms that are upstream. The government should have people monitoring the waterways, at least around the farm areas, to watch for people dumping pigs. Also, the government needs to continuously run tests in different areas in order to effectively monitor the water quality. I hope the government catches the people that are dumping these animals as soon as possible. It is so disgusting. I would not be able to use my water knowing that dead pigs were floating in it, even if the government says it is safe. I would have to import bottled water or get a heavy-duty Brita.

  3. I was unaware of China’s pig trading tendencies. According to an article in Christian Science Monitor, (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2013/0314/China-s-pig-dumping-scandal-puts-spotlight-on-illegal-pork-trade) it is not uncommon for farmers to sell dead, diseased pigs to underground traders who sell the pork, illegally, direct to consumers or food processors. This past Wednesday, 46 men from Wenling were imprisoned for selling the meat of diseased pigs. It seems that the government is reacting but maybe the repercussions have yet to be severe enough to prove effective. The article suggests that animal trade supervision is linked to the frequency with which cities see illegal pig trading; the sale of pig carcasses is likely to be more common in smaller cities where animal trade supervision departments may not be attending to their jobs as closely as those departments in larger cities, like Shanghai. Mr. Naber clearly points to instances that contradict this general trend. “By law, these carcasses should be either buried or cremated, but the temptation to bypass the law by selling or dumping them is strong for small farmers who are working to tight profit margins.” Given this, the government may need to incentivize cremation or burial. Perhaps a tax deduction or food credit could do the trick. It seems as though money is the primary force driving this distributing trade, and that only a monetary incentive will lead to its demise.

  4. This story makes me sick. Garbage and sewage are bad enough, to add dead pig carcasses to the water pollution mix is extremely troubling for the Chinese and, as McCallion mentions, potentially other nations downstream. Although Shanghai is thousands of miles from the South East Asian countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, it is not inconceivable that a persistent pig dumping problem could have an eventual effect on foreign countries. Trans-boundary pollution is a serious concern. Therefore, I think that the Chinese authorities need to take immediate action.

    Furthermore, although the United States does not import much meat from outside its own borders, I would like to see some action taken here to ensure that no pork products make their way to our consumers. A couple weeks ago there was a post about horse meat in Ikea meatballs; today we have concerns about rancid pork. I think that the U.S. and other major consumers should take action by placing a temporary moratorium on meat imports in order to send a message to the offenders.

    Good story; bad news.

  5. I absolutely agree with all the points mentioned above and as Ms. Campbell mentioned, the rise of these carcasses has increased since the original article, which to me, illustrates that the government is not taking this situation serious enough and that the measures they have taken thus far have been unsuccessful. This problem is something that can have an adverse affect on the many other nations and government intervention of some sort is necessary to ensure that the water is cleaned. Further, I believe that Ms. Zefi brings up a good idea that I believe could be very useful in combating and addressing this problem. She suggested proposing tax deductions or food credits to ensure that the dead pig carcasses are either buried or cremated. By doing this, perhaps the illegal trade will take a hit over the lack of dead carcasses, which would in turn help both the government curtail this industry and prevent any further pollution to the water supply. In addition, I believe that Mr. Boussias offers a good potential solution as well, in that perhaps through the use of a moratorium on meat imports it would encourage the Chinese government to take more serious measures in addressing this problem. Either way, something needs to be done, and needs to be done fast in order to ensure protection of the Shanghai citizens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *