South Korean pigs are suffering from a massive outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. This epidemic, having cost Korean farmers over $1 billion in damage, is perhaps the most serious in the nation’s history. While that economic figure may be disturbing, even more so is the horrific, inhumane handling of the infected pigs. Read on and find out how you can join the resistance against this tragedy of animal cruelty. — Global Animal
Change.org, Laura Goldman
Pigs suffering from an historic outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in South Korea have not been vaccinated against the disease. Instead, more than 1.4 million of them have been piled on top of one another in truck beds and driven to mass graves, where they’re dumped and buried alive.
South Korean officials have killed about 12 percent of the country’s swine since November 29, when the first cases of FMD were reported. “The outbreak is the most serious in Korea’s history,” Kim Jae-hong, a veterinary science professor at Seoul National University, told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
FMD affects all hoofed animals – pigs, cattle, goats, deer and buffalo. Even though you can’t get sick if you eat meat from an infected animal, the meat is not allowed to be exported. No exported meat means no profits, which means hundreds of thousands of pigs, whether they’re infected or not, are being barbarically killed in the country’s largest cull ever.
As Korea Animal Rights Associates (KARA) reports, “Tragically, once again, in what is almost a yearly ritual, mass slaughters have taken place, and this time in record numbers. Culling is comprehensive and brutal.”
Until just recently, the South Korean government refused to do the humane thing and vaccinate the animals. Apparently the cost wasn’t a factor: A vaccination program would come to about £63m ($100 million), according to Sky News, while as of last week, the price tag for the brutal culling was approximately a whopping £230m ($365 million).
“This is totally contrary to international guidelines on humane culling, which the Korean government endorsed five years ago,” Joyce D’Silva, the director of public affairs for Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), told Sky News.
The Republic of Korea belongs to the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), whose Guidelines on the Killing of Animals for Disease Control Purposes states that the methods used “should result in immediate death or immediate loss of consciousness lasting until death” and “should not cause avoidable anxiety, pain, distress or suffering in animals.”
Burying animals alive certainly seems to breach these guidelines.
Change.org member Carin Zellerman started a petition last month asking the South Korean government to end the live burials. At that time, CIWF was reporting that 2,400 animals had been buried alive. Zellerman said she was inspired to create the petition because “this particular story didn’t have a letter protest, and it is an ongoing brutality that has only gotten worse over the past weeks.”
Zellerman has been in direct contact with KARA. “They have been very helpful in informing me about the culling and keeping me updated, on both the FMD outbreak and on the related ‘flu culling’ and live burial of birds,” she said. “This matter has definitely not yet gained the attention it deserves in the media.”
Please sign the petition urging the end of the horrific practice of burying animals alive.