The Taebaek Snow festival and Hwacheon Ice fishing festival have been cancelled do stop the spread of the disease.
Over 1.8 Million pigs have been buried alive in rural regions of South Korea in an attempt to stop the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease. This is reportedly the worst case in Korean history of the highly contagious virus, which can spread from hand to hand, from vehicles or even by air born dust.
Animal rights groups the world over have been left outraged as the truth about the mass culling seeps into mainstream media. Guidelines set by the World Organization for Animal Health, which clearly states all animals must be killed in a humane way and must have stopped breathing before being buried, were blatantly ignored as truckloads of pigs (up to 40,000 a day in some areas) were dumped unceremoniously into mass graves, squeaking and squealing as the earth was piled in on top of them.
Bringing the crisis a little closer to home (my home in Korea anyway), residents of Paju (where I live and which has also been badly affected by foot and mouth) have, according to The Korea Times “have seen their faucets start to deliver water mixed with blood since the beginning of the New Year.” Thank GOD I don’t drink my tap water, although even seeing that would be more than a little disturbing.
Now I’m no vegetarian, and as the daughter of a farmer, I know how devastating it can be to discover your animals have been found infected and that such virus can be an awful financial burden and can even destroy your livelihood, BUT this sort of mass killing makes me sad to the core. How can officials get away with such blatant law breaking? How can any country justify killing 2 million animals, and even worse allowing them to be buried alive??!
Only 120 animals tested positive to the disease. So why on earth, I wonder, were close to 2 million animals slaughtered? (10% of the total amount of livestock in Korea!!) As usual, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, it comes down to Money.
Instead of opting to vaccinate all the animals, in an effort to save time and money, animals were instead slaughtered. Injecting the pigs with poison similar to the cattle was thought to be cost to much money and require too much time, as they required larger dosses than the cattle and there were simply not enough vaccines available in the country.
Since the outbreak began in November, price of Pork has risen 22% while price of beef has gone up 9% in supermarkets. In the last few weeks I have heard of masses of people in the likes of CostCo in Ilsan rushing to buy large quantities of meat before the price soars even higher.
With the government concentrating on vaccinating the remaining 13 million animals, the “meat market” has opened up, welcoming imports from Australia and America, albeit at much higher prices.
The overall cost of the crisis is expected to cost the Korean government BILLIONS of dollars, but can you really put a price on a life? Or should I say 2 million lives?