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Tales of pampered 'Olympic pigs' denied
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The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) has denied reports that pigs being reared for meat during the Games are meanwhile living a life of luxury.

Yang Yanyun, chairman of Luck Crane, the Games' sole authorized pork supplier, is alleged to have said his animals were being immunized with natural herbs and Chinese medicines, were given two hours' exercise per day, and were being raised in special breeding centers far away from areas with high air or water pollution.

However, on Friday, the BOCOG said in a report on its website that the "special rearing methods" boasted about by the pork supplier were false.

The report said the organizers had issued a warning to the supplier about the misleading information, but did not name the company.

The report went on to say it was possible some companies had developed new breeding methods or upgraded their supply chains to improve their business ... "But it is very wrong if they tried to say these things were done for the Olympics. They are manipulating people's feelings about the Games to improve their brand image."

Interviews featuring Yang flooded the Internet in August.

He was quoted as saying his company does not use growth hormones in pig rearing as it could conceivably cause athletes to fail anti-doping tests.

In addition, he said his pig feed was free of preservatives and that the immunization methods used on the hogs included natural herbs and Chinese medicine.

His 'Olympic pigs' also received two hours' exercise a day to keep them healthy, he said.

The BOCOG report said all farm products produced for the Games were part of the same food supply chain used to feed the people of Beijing.

"There is no need to raise 'Olympic pigs' for the Games, as currently 97 percent of the branded pork products in Beijing meet the food safety standard," the report said.

(China Daily November 3, 2007)

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