On September 17th, 2019, upon hearing of an outbreak of the African swine fever in a pig farm in Paju City, we and KAAP (Korean Association for Animal Protection) went to investigate
In 2011, we released videos revealing pigs being buried alive in farms in response to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and thus drew public attention to the necessity of reforming animal welfare with regards to the mass culling of livestock.
As a result, the live burial of animals was banned in South Korea.
However, prior investigation of mass cullings on South Korean farms had uncovered occurrences of cruel and illegal procedures hidden under the misnomer of “humane killing.”
Around 11:40 AM, we visited Paju City Agricultural Technology Center’s livestock division and confirmed that a more humane culling technique of gassing was being employed. 2,450 pigs were to be killed at the Paju farm where the first outbreak took place, with a further 1,500 from other farms where the second and third outbreaks took place, totalling 3,950 pigs to be killed.
The procedure involves rounding up the pigs inside an enclosure and introducing carbon dioxide into the enclosed space. Next, the corpses are placed inside Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) containers, which are then buried.
The press was at the farms where the outbreak took place. Because the culling ground was quarantined and inaccessible to the press, some broadcasters filmed the events with a drone. We monitored the process via the video feed to ensure that only legal methods were being used.
On September 18th, CARE and KAAP sent official letters to 159 livestock and quarantine institutions in South Korea to ensure compliance with the legal procedures listed in the manuals, in case they must conduct mass culling of livestock infected with the African swine fever virus.
There are several other regions throughout South Korea with suspected cases of the African swine fever transmission. We and KAAP will continue to monitor the culling procedures and attempt to enforce humane measures.