Pigs are back in the headlines once again, and with a vengeance. Here is an interesting juxtapose of three pig-related news stories found via the informative China Digital Times.
We first read on the Beijing News that a “Zero-Profit Pork Alliance” consisting of about 150 supermarkets in Chongqing that came together on Aug 10 in a bold move to slow down and reverse rising pork prices has all but collapsed:
The participating stores did surprise consumers with much reduced price tags for their pork products on shelf, running as low as 11.98 yuan/half kilo (or 1.1 pounds). The market pushed the same category of lean meat as high as 15.9 yuan/half kilo just days ago. The stores attracted customers with “zero-profit meat” posters, which were also costing the stores at least a thousand yuan in loss per store daily, let alone profits.
Moralism soon caved in, with many of the stores quietly pulling out of the zero-profit pact, restoring prices slightly back, although not to the all-time highs. Store managers expressed the difficulties in remaining in the cause, although none formally announced they were quitting. Chongqing’s commerce authorities hope that the pact will be restored and said that the prices remain relatively high.
Also, it seems pork supply is so high on the priority list of the organisers of that all-important sporting event that is happening some time next year that they have set up 10 pig breeding centers located in different parts of China (one wonders what Muslim and Jewish athletes will eat). However, the locations of the Olympic pig breeding centers are kept entirely secret. “Pigs there are monitored, only fed organic crops, and have to exercise everyday. ” According to Niu Shengnan, CEO of Beijing Qianxihe Group, which is the only supplier of frozen, fresh pork and pork products for the Beijing Olympics, the use of growth hormones in pig-rearing was “standard in China, but eating meat produced this way could conceivably cause competitors to fail anti-doping tests”. Also:
Liu also said the pigs’ feed has no preservatives. The immunization methods for the pigs include using natural herbs and Chinese medicine. To ensure the health of the pigs, they are arranged to exercise for two hours per day. Because no antibiotics are used for pig breeding, the growing period for these Olympics pigs are two to three months longer than common pigs. However, the Olympics pigs will not be sold cheap. Liu said the pork will be 40% to 50% more expensive than the market price.
Chinese bloggers have started to react to the idea of the secret steroid-free Olympic pigs. Blogger bbcjy writes:
The fact there are “Olympics pigs” tells us how serious our food safety issue is. The athletes cannot eat regular pork, otherwise they cannot pass doping tests. But how many people in this country can eat this special pork? The problem of athletes eating pork is resolved. What about the problem of pork eating for citizens in this country? What about our food safety problem? [Translation by CDT]
In the meanwhile, China Daily Times also informs us that the following phrase has been spreading quietly in the Chinese blogosphere:
“I would rather be a pig for the Olympics than a human in a coal mine! ”
China Daily Times: Zero-profit Pork Alliance Running Out of Moral Steam – The Beijing News
China Daily Times: Beijing Olympics Pigs: Secret Breeding and Special Supplies – ChineseNewsNet
China Daily Times: Bloggers’ Reaction to Secret Steroid-free Olympics Pigs
Financial Times: Secret steroid-free pigs to go on the menu for athletes
Previously on Shanghaiist
Chinese scientists create glow in the dark pigs
Do you know what your pigs are eating?
Photo of pigs on the way to the slaughterhouse by MonkeyClaus.