Why were 30,000 pigs floating down the river?

Because you believed what you read in the newspaper.
(Photo from "The Morning Bulletin", 
Rockhampton, Australia)

Quotes can be taken out of context, or they can be in error. In this case, the Morning Bulletin newspaper in Australia interviewed a man who said his pig farm had been devastated by flooding in Australia:
30,000 pigs swept away in flood
Pigs float down the Dawson
Flood has devastated piggery's livestock


More than 30,000 pigs have been floating down the Dawson River since last weekend, with a piggery at Baralaba paralyzed by flooding which has killed most of its bred livestock.

Baralaba Butchers' Sid Everingham owns and runs the piggery near Baralaba.

Mr. Everingham said: "We've lost about 30,000 pigs in the floods. we tried to get as many weaners and suckers out by boat, but we could save only about 70 weaners, and the suckers didn't survive long, because they needed their mother's milk, and all the sows have been washed away."
The next day, the newspaper ran a correction:
Correction

There was an error printed in a story titled "Pigs float down the Dawson" on Page 11 of yesterday's Bully.

The story, by reporter Daniel Burton, said "more than 30,000 pigs were floating down the Dawson River."

What Baralaba piggery owner Sid Everingham actually said was "30 sows and pigs", not "30,000 pigs".

The Morning Bulletin would like to apologize for this error, which was also reprinted in today's Rural Weekly CQ before the mistake was known.
Lots of comments on this and other misheard language errors here: Correction of the Year? Language Log>>
- A correction saved their bacon, Media Watch>>
- PDF of the actual newspaper (opens directly) The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, Australia>>

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