January 14, 2008 / 4:03 PM / in 10 years

Parents snort as school enforces pig rearing

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese middle school has ordered children to feed pigs three times a day, angering parents who complained it was denying their children a proper education, state media said Monday amid worries over soaring pork prices.

Chunchang Nanlu Middle School on the southern holiday resort island of Hainan had used 10,000 yuan ($1,400) in poverty alleviation funds to buy 36 piglets, the Beijing News said.

“Besides raising pigs, the students must also grow vegetables as part of a compulsory class,” the newspaper said.

Some parents were angry because the class was taking time from other studies and had taken their grievances to local media.

“Each pig can be sold for 1,600 yuan ($220) with each class splitting the profit of 1,000 yuan ($130), so of course it is advantageous for the school to continue raising pigs,” the newspaper quoted a parent as saying.

The school maintained that the class was good for students’ education.

China’s pork prices have been ballooning on the back of high feed costs and an outbreak of blue ear disease that killed as many as a million pigs last year.

Worries about rising prices reached new heights in a southwestern town where a man has been raising three squealing pigs in his apartment, local media reported earlier.

Su Yanshan, a livestock slaughterer, kept the animals on the enclosed balcony of his second-floor home in Chongqing.

Su’s wife told the Chongqing Evening News they planned to sell the 100 kg pigs for the Lunar New Year holiday in early February, when pork is in peak demand for dumplings, sausage and other traditional dishes.

Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie

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