As the number of dead pigs fished out of the Huangpu rises beyond 16,000 they have now been joined by 1000 dead ducks spied floating down a river in Sichuan. Seeing Red in China wonders why the issue never sparked the same kind of protests that attended other environmental scandals. The short answer is that there was no locus: nowhere physically to protest and no local officials to pin responsibility on, since they all came floating down the river from the porkopolis of Jiaxing.
Caixin notes that China as a whole is pork central: raising 700 million pigs a year, of which means that an average of 18 million die from disease annually (120,000 in Jiaxing alone). Since it’s common for diseased pig carcasses to be sold back in the food chain, there was in fact a certain level of relief in public response to the great pig float.
Meanwhile, spare a thought for the villagers of Zhenbei, who seem to have been hired en masse to fish the creatures out of the river. They were available for such work because the local fishing trade has been ruined, ironically enough, by water pollution. They’re paid the equivalent of around US$25 per day for the job and have ‘become used to the stench’.