One farmer complained in an interview that when theres disease we dont understand whats going on, and they officials dont tell us which vaccines to use.
The man, who did not want his name published, had pulled up on a black scooter in front of a small livestock dumping station next to a trash collection shed. The roadside station, an open-air space with a slanted roof, had fresh green paint and, the farmer said, was slapped together by the government only after public outcry about the floating pigs.
A few dead pigs lay on the ground, and others were in plastic bags or feed sacks. There was a platform in a field nearby with two pits for disposing of pigs, deep wells in which their bodies decompose. Both were completely full, so farmers had dropped pig corpses on the ground nearby.
Once the pigs began showing up in the Huangpu River, the publics wariness about official explanations became evident. The chief veterinarian of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Yu Kangzhen, said last month that the deaths were caused by common disease and bad weather.
Yu also said that water in the Huangpu River, where a great number of dead pigs were found, meets national standards for drinking water, according to an account by the state Xinhua newswire, which paraphrased him.
One online user of the popular Sina Weibo micro-blog service echoed the comments of many others: I suggest the leaders fill a bowl with that water, and finish it.
Closer to the ground, a man who was walking past a branch of the river in the town of Maogang, down the road from the suburbs of Shanghai, stopped to offer his appraisal. The water must have been poisoned, said the man, 41, who only gave his surname of Luo.
Official media has focused on the tightening of government control on the illegal dead pig racket as an explanation for the animals in the Huangpu last month.
Among the interviews featured on an extensive state TV report in late March was a former dead pig trader from Zhulin named Pan Huimin, whod been arrested some seven months earlier. Wearing handcuffs and a yellow vest, Pan said that all of the dead pigs showing up were 100 percent linked to the squeeze on him and his colleagues. It was not clear how Pan, in detention before the floating pigs came to light, could answer with such certainty. The backdrop of the conversation was a bare courtyard, from which the camera at one point turned to a guard tower and high walls.
In Zhulin, Pans relatives offered an explanation for why hed gotten mixed up in that line of work. His wife, Hang Yaqin, hiked up her T-shirt, unwrapped a strap of gauze and pointed to a tube as she explained that shed gotten a kidney transplant in December 2010.
Speaking in a low tone as she slouched back on a folding chair, Hang said the new organ didnt make her as healthy as doctors had hoped, and many expensive medicines followed. The family took on more and more debt, she said, and there was simply nothing else to do.
We just didnt have the money, said Hang, 45. If we had the money, who would ever get into this sort of business?