Market Rejects 'Tainted' Livestock

CHINA - Guangzhou Tianhe Livestock Market stopped farmers from bringing in 151 pigs suspected to have been fed clenobuterol hydrochloride early yesterday morning.
calendar icon 25 March 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

"Urine samples of the animals, transported all the way from Mengjin county in Central China's Henan province, was soon sent for testing," a manager with the market, who wanted to be known as "He", told China Daily yesterday.

"The pigs are under observation and those that are found with clenobuterol hydrochloride traces will be culled," the manager said. "And we will ban all farmers from Henan province from entering our market with live pigs from tomorrow on."

Clenobuterol hydrochloride, a fattening drug some farmers would feed pigs with, was banned after it was found to be hazardous to human health.

Eating tainted pork may result in symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, increased heart rates, involuntary shaking of hands and vomiting.

"Our market has expanded the sample testing scale to 20 per cent from 2-3 per cent since mid-February when over 70 citizens fell prey to the tainted pork," he said.

Official statistics indicated that Guangzhou has successfully rejected and culled 43 batches of pigs suspected to have been fed the illegal drug in the past month.

"We are keeping a close watch on crimes related to clenobuterol hydrochloride-tainted pigs and will punish the criminals according to law," said Li Xuedong, a director with the procuratorate of Guangzhou, at a press conference held last week. The press meet had to with the arrest of 15 local people suspected to be involved in the sale and use of clenobuterol hydrochloride.

The use of clenobuterol hydrochloride is very common in many pig farms for the high percentage of profits it could lead to, said a report in yesterday's Nanfang Rural News.

According to the report, some farmers begin feeding pigs with clenobuterol hydrochloride 15 to 20 days before they are sold. The drug can help save about 1kg of feed even as it makes each animal gain 1kg weight per day, leading to a profit as high as 275 per cent.

"The tainted pigs can even sell at a higher price, by about 0.4 yuan per kg, than normal ones," the report pointed out.

The paper revealed that serious loopholes existed in the area of initial urine testing of the pigs in many farms.

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