Mar. 18 - Residents and butchers in Shanghai, China, are still divided over the safety of the Chinese pork industry after more than 12,000 dead pigs were dumped in a local river. Jessica Gray reports.
This month's discovery of over 12,000 dead pigs dumped in a river near Shanghai is raising questions about the safety of China's pork industry. On Monday, some butchers in the city said sales were down due to the scandal. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) PORK VENDOR, XU BANGJIU, SAYING: "Dead pigs have an influence on our sales. Sales volume dropped about 10 percent to 20 percent recently. But everyone needs to eat meat. I think people can eat pork without worries because all pork has been examined several times." The issue has shed light on poor conditions at some farms and how sick animals, like the ones found in the river, often end up in the food chain, one way or another. Dumping dead animals is common here because the system does not compensate farmers for losses due to disease. Officials have stepped up health checks and are vouching for the quality of the meat, which has reassured some. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 75-YEAR-OLD SHANGHAI RESIDENT, ZHOU AIBAO, SAYING: "I have no worries. I heard from the TV and radio that thousands of the dead pigs have been destroyed by melting and burning. Us folks feel at ease. The government is concerned about us. Eating pork should be without worries." China has the largest number of pigs worldwide, at 475 million as of 2012.