This past weekend, the world was shocked as images depicting thousands of pig carcasses being pulled from a river in Shanghai surfaced across the internet. As of today, nearly 6,000 pigs have been found floating down the Huangpu River. The mysterious pigs started appearing on Thursday, and not surprisingly have caused widespread alarm over local water contamination.

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Image ©Lars Plougmann

Earlier in the day, the pig-count numbered just above 2,000, but since then a total of 5,916 carcasses have been pulled from the waters of the central Shanghai river. With China’s pollution levels already causing concern for many residents, the public went into panic mode, worried that their drinking water would be rendered non-potable due to the corpses.

The source of the dead pigs is unclear, but authorities have determined they originated at one of the pig farms in the Jiaxing area upstream. These same farms have recently been under police investigation for supplying butchers with meat from diseased animals. An official claims that the high rate of pig deaths was instead caused by cold weather.

Although it has taken several days to “clean up” the floating pig carcasses, the Shanghai government says it is testing the city’s water for six common swine viruses, in addition to taking other disinfecting measures. The Chinese government also reports that it will collect all of the corpses before directing them to a final resting place.

Via Reuters and ABC News

Images ©Wikimedia Commons and ©Lars Plougmann