On September 26th, with the Korean Association for Animal Protection (KAAP), we held a press conference at Gwanghwamun Plaza to reveal the government and municipality’s failure to address the issue of the live burial of pigs infected by the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV.)
Despite the inaccessibility of the culling grounds to the public, we discovered that among the buried pigs were some that remained conscious even after carbon dioxide gassing.
Despite our meetings with the Livestock Epidemic Prevention Team in the cities of Paju and Gimpo, and receiving confirmation that they would follow humane culling procedures, they had failed to do so and were continuing to bury pigs alive.
With KAAP, we reported the Mayor of Paju City to the police on September 20th for “neglect and dereliction of duty.” On September 24th, we released footage of live burials taking place in these regions.
The government announced its plan to establish a Livestock Epidemic Prevention Division inside the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) to prohibit inhumane culling methods, including live burial.
However, with no supervision or enforcement from the Livestock Epidemic Prevention Division at the locations, culling was left solely under the direction and responsibility of the service enterprises. Due to negligence in complying with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), pigs were injured in the process, thus increasing the chances of spreading the virus even further.
Epidemics like Foot-and-mouth Disease, Avian Influenza, and African Swine Fever Virus are primarily catalyzed by factory farming.
Disappointingly and disturbingly, not much has changed since 2011 when we and KAAP investigated and exposed the live burial of pigs to the public for the first time in South Korea.
We and KAAP urge the government to take the necessary and appropriate steps to enforce humane culling. Surveillance of every culling ground is too hefty a task for us to fulfill on our own, and it is difficult to estimate how many more pigs will have to be sacrificed.
The massacre of thousands of innocent pigs whose first steps outside their cages led to live burial is another tragedy caused by human ignorance and rashness.The government and the municipalities must understand the severity of this issue and bear in mind that a country’s greatness is, in part, represented by the way its animals are treated.