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Dead Pigs Found Every Day for Five Years in Sichuan Reservoir

28 March 2014, at 10:02am

CHINA - Dead pigs dumped in rivers in Qionglai, Sichuan province, have been found every day for five years in a downstream reservoir, the West China Metropolis Daily reported on Wednesday.

Located in the city's Baolin county, the reservoir serves not only as the largest source of irrigation, but is also a fishing zone for tourists.

Xu Bangchun and Xu Jianjun are two workers who are paid 2,400 yuan ($386) a month to remove pig carcasses from the reservoir.

"Nearly 500 dead pigs can be hauled up from the reservoir every month," said Xu Bangchun, who added that most of the carcasses were piglets.

Over 300,000 pig breeders have farms along banks of three rivers that end at the reservoir.

Regulations require that diseased animal carcasses must be disposed of in a sanitary way, and farmers can get subsidies and extra premiums from insurance companies for each dead pig, but there are farmers who still violate the rules, according to Li Ping, director of a local animal health supervision department.

One of the problems, Li added, is that "insurance companies are unwilling to insure breeders for their piglets because the risks are so high."

The mortality rate of piglets can reach 20 per cent during an animal disease epidemic, said a local pig farmer surnamed Chen.

Without insurance, farmers must pay for the sanitary disposal of the carcasses themselves, which is the major reason why farmers are reluctant to follow the rules.

An official at a local agricultural department said policymakers are working on incentives to encourage insurance companies to cover dead piglets.

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