Government Buries Animals Alive in Cull PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 December 2010 13:39

Updates are after this original news item:


(photo © 경북매일신문 &

Pigs are ruthlessly buried alive, and this will continue to happen because the Korean government has refused to vaccinate the animals against foot-and-mouth disease.

One report says that around 90% of all animals, including cattle, have been buried alive.


(photo © 경인일보

The first case of foot-and-mouth (FMD) was reported in North Gyeongsang Province on November 29, and since then it has spread. In December, it was confirmed on pig farms in Paju, Yangju and Yeoncheon. It was also confirmed on a farm northwest of Seoul.

Then it was found in Gangwon, the country’s most important province for animal farming, at cattle farms in Pyeongchang and Hwacheon, located 182 kilometers and 118 kilometers east of Seoul, respectively.

In Gyeonggi, the disease has spread to a hog farm in Yeoncheon and Gimpo, plus to two cattle farms in Pocheon.

There have been 116 cases of FMD as of January 12.

FMD affects all hoofed animals--such as cattle, pigs, goats, deer and buffalo--and any country that has it is banned from exporting meat, even though meat from infected animals does not harm humans. So tragically, once again, in what is almost a yearly ritual, mass slaughters have taken place and this time in record numbers.


(photo © 경인일보

To prevent the spread of the disease, all cows, dogs and chickens that happened to be on infected farms were also buried.

Currently, there are about 610,000 cloven-hoofed animals on 16,000 farms in the province. Gangwon boasts some of Korea's best beef brands, such as Hoengseong and Daegwallyeong. Many of these animals could face slaughter.

Since the outbreak of FMD on November 29, over 1,400,000 animals have been either culled or are destined for slaughter--many have been and will be buried alive.


(photo © 경북매일신문 &

As a consequence of FMD spiralling out of control, the Korean government considered administering vaccines to farmed animals, a common-sensed thing to do. However, the plan has many opponents because it will make it difficult to regain FMD-free status later on. It will also cost a lot.

At least 78 billion won ($67.8 million) is needed to secure vaccines for 3 million cows as well as for 10 million pigs. The damage so far is estimated at over 230 billion won, and that will only increase.

Regrettably, the government has begun inoculating cattle in five cities but will not vaccinate pigs.

Based on the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Guidelines (Chapter 7.6 Killing of animals for disease control purposes, Article 7.6.1., Terrestrial Animal Health Code), the welfare of the animals shall be ensured until they are dead. As a member of the OIE, Korea's burying of pigs (and other animals) alive is in violation of the international guidelines, not to mention being torturous, cruel and immoral.

KARA has strongly advocated including pigs in the vaccination program but to no avail. It is clear that the government is putting economic considerations before animal welfare -- as it has done in the past.

So, despite KARA and other animal rights groups condemning the practice of burying animals alive and causing untold suffering and mass cruelty, this nightmarish practice is likely to continue.


(photo © 경인일보

Update, January 4, 2011

People are now reporting "blood water" coming through taps in Paju City near where mass burials took place. More here.

Update, January 6, 2011

People assigned to cull animals are reportedly suffering guilt and trauma from the terrible way everything was done. They can still hear the cries of the animals and have called it a living nightmare. They have experienced lost of appetite, mental stress and depression, including in some cases a reduced will to live. Psychological counseling has been made available for them at the welfare center in Gyongido. Thirty one posts in Gyongido have been setup for counseling and post traumatic stress help due to the live cullings.

The government has ruled out euthanasia drugs for cattle, so cattle are being buried alive as well.

The military was called in and some 68,000 soldiers and military equipment have been mobilized to help with the culling.

Total deaths so far stands at 1,000,000.

Update, January 7, 2011

An estimated 1,000,000 more animals are expected to be killed, most by the inhumane and barbaric method of being buried alive.

Government has finally begun to vaccinate pigs.

But more criticism is being leveled at it for its inadequate preventative measures and poor response. KARA had urged the government weeks ago to begin mass vaccinations. We were ignored.

Update, January 8, 2011

Here is a brief description of just one culling episode.

In it is claimed that pigs that tried to escape were killed with excavators by being crushed, hit and having heads split open by their blades.

The number of pigs was 1138. A total of 27 people participated in the culling: local government officers 18, official vet 1, engineers 7, livestock cooperative official 1. There were 3 excavators and 4 trucks.

Culling started at 5 pm and finished 11 pm.

Baby pigs were put into bags alive, 7 or 8 per bag, and buried alive. Large and strong pigs were dumped in a pit, but the toughest struggled to get out. When they attempted escaped, excavators pushed them back with their shovels with violence and would kill them. (Note the 3rd photo from the top.) It is described that their heads are split open.

Update, January 10, 2011

Reportedly, 1.2 million pigs and cattle across the country will be vaccinated over the next few weeks and the government will try to get vaccines for 6.5 million animals by the end of January.

Typical of the Korean government throughout this disaster: too little too late to save innocent lives.

Update, January 12, 2011

Cull deaths now stand at 1.5 million.

Update, January 15, 2011

Mass vaccinations are supposed to begin today, including all cattle and pigs (but not piglets, unfortunately).

FMD cull deaths now stand at 1.61 million

Update, January 17, 2011

Finally, news of the live burials is spreading throughout the international community. Korean papers are now reporting the result, such as mass threats to boycott Korean goods.

Voice of America mentions that local authorities took it upon themselves to bury animals alive. But how is it that local authorities everywhere decided to bury animals alive? There is no excuse for this cruelty and incompetence.

Not just local authorities, but the Korean government is to blame all the way to the top. It has pursued a policy of live burial for years and got away with it. Hopefully its barbaric live burials will soon be a thing of the past.

We hope the international pressure will continue.

Update, January 18, 2011

If Korea gets second-grade OIE status, it may give up killing within a 500 meter radius of infected farms. President Lee Myungbank has urged the government to minimize the killing.

Even after vaccinations, animals will be rushed to slaughter as a preventative measure. The vaccinated animals will be slaughtered before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Lack of vets trained for livestock has emerged as a big problem. So non-veterinarians are allowed by law to diagnose and treat animals to a certain extent in Korea. Companies of animal food and drugs are against the removal of this law.

International criticism continues against Korea as news slowly spreads.

Update, January 20, 2011

Vaccination of cows has been completed (95-100 %, Jan. 19-20). Vaccination of breeding pigs (1.3 million / 9.9 million) has been completed, too, and now vaccination will be extended to pigs on large farms.

There are reports of FMD in Pyongyang, North Korea. OIE is waiting for confirmation. North Korea is also reportedly killing affected animals. But the spread should be much slower in the North.

Sadly, in Chuncheon, around 60 dogs were reportedly buried alive because a cow on the farm was affected.

A report from Hoengsung, Gangwon Province, has told of a cow being injected with succinylcholine and after her new-born calf approached her and cried for milk. Then--the cull personnel could not believe what they saw--the mother cow suckled her baby while trembling on the verge of collapse, keeping upright for 2-3 minutes (it would usually take less time for a cow to collapse).

Only after the baby was finished did the mother cow collapse into paralysis. The calf, unaware of what was happening, lingered near the still body of its mother. Later, the calf was killed and buried beside its mother.

Update, January 30, 2011

The Minister for Agriculture has offered to resign as finger pointing and recriminations intensify while FMD continues to spread.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has said that the foot-and-mouth disease in Korea signals a regional risk and is calling for a multinational effort to combat it.

On January 28, the government readjusted the culling radius to minimize the killing. Only infected animals on a vaccinated farm will be killed. But if an infected pig is found after two or more weeks (period for immunity formation) from the time of vaccination, it will be killed. About 300 other breeding pigs in the same pen will be killed upon infection under two weeks after vaccination.

No more FMD cases were reported from January 25 to 28. However concern remains because of the cold weather, as it enables viruses to live longer.

Reports have been coming in of farmers taking advantage of government pay outs and not quarantining properly. Also, other farmers have been forced to cull healthy animals or risk receiving no government compensation if an animal were to become sick.

A sad report on the trauma suffered by some small farmers appeared in the Chicago Tribune

KARA's letter alerting other animal rights groups around the world.

KARA's public information release in English.

More cull statistics and news sources


(photo © 경북매일신문 &

Laura  - Karma   |2010-12-29 09:51:54
This is absolutely tragic and disgusting...imagine each individual innocent animal going through this hell, treated like produce, when they are highly sentient beings. Total shame on humanity for all this, when all people need to do is stop animal agriculture and grow good crops to feed people: vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, grains...all clean, humane, foot and mouth disease, no deliberate evil committed by people, which only degrades our own species. Vaccines are not the answer either...the answer is for EVERYONE to go vegan and stop patronizing these evil industries. PLEASE!
Jrit   |2011-01-01 16:54:32
This is absolutely disgusting to bury animals alive, but there again what can anyone expect form these people they are used to being brutal to animals afer all they eat dog, these poor animals will suffer terrible not being able to breath I think it is barbaric for them to put these animals through this.
Nic   |2011-01-06 21:22:46
This makes me sick to my stomach. I can't believe humans can be so cruel. It needs to stop. And it needs to stop right now! Disgusting. I feel so sorry for the animals. Bring tears to my eyes.
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