Latest Statistics on Korean Cull, Nov. 2010 – Feb. 2011
FMD continues to spread. Even in vaccinated areas, FMD is occurring, which suggests that vaccination will fail to contain the disease.
It is highly likely that the disease has spread to North Korea.
1. FMD Cull Numbers as of February 7, 2011
Total = 3,164,452 (5,664 farms)
Cattle = Cattle: 149,844 (3,667 farms)
Pigs = 3,006,283 (1,652 farms, 95% of the total culling and 28% of the total number of pigs raised in Korea as of December 2010.)
Goats: 5,354 (207 farms)
Deer: 2,969 (138 farms)
Number of cases: 153 in 69 cities and regions
Dogs have also been killed. A report from Chuncheon say around 60 dogs were also buried alive as a cow the farm with them was affected with FMD.
Around 100,000 animals have been buried alive every day. The government has offered national forests for burial as local authorities are running out of suitable burial sites. This may lead animals to suffer more as they will have to be driven farther from their farms. Another serious concern is that disease spread wider and more ground water contamination will occur.
In Gyeonggi Province, the most severely affected area, more than 80% of the total number of farmed animals were killed.
2. Avian Flu Cull Numbers as of February 7, 2011
Total = 5,411,483 (243 farms, chickens and ducks)
Number of cases = 40 in 16 cities and regions.
In South Jeolla province alone, around 3 million birds were killed across 130 farms. AI is rampant especially in South Jeolla, where 37 million chickens/ducks (13,000 farms) are bred.
In 2008, 22 chicken farms and 11 duck farms were affected but in 2011, 21 out of 26 cases were from duck farms. The government has no clear answer but says that 99% of ducks are bred to be sold to large companies and these farms receive the same duck food, which could be a reason. While chickens would die of the disease soon after contagion, it takes longer for ducks to die. So it might be that the viruses were present for a long time in South Jeolla and Choongcheong areas before being discovered.
Also on Jan. 20, the rare Avian Tuberculosis was found in Gangreung, Gangwon Province, for the first time since 1961. Although the disease doesn’t spread fast, there is no cure or vaccine. So birds (around 3,000-6,000 or more) are likely to be killed and buried alive in this area.
Succinylcholine (for human surgery) was used. This drug is a neuromuscular blocking agent that induces muscle paralysis without loss of consciousness. So this drug is not acceptable as a sole agent for euthanasia. Because cattle were the main focus of government efforts, pigs were not given succinylcholine.
The total amount of the drug available was 200,000 ampules (this is the exact number supplied by the manufacturer).
1~3 ampules are needed to kill cattle (2-6 for pigs):
1 x ampules kills through intravenous injection
3 x ampules kills through intramusclar injection
Cattle were mainly killed through muscle injection. But after one month of the FMD outbreak, the drug had run out (on December 29, 2010). At that point we can presume live burials were used exclusively for cattle and all other animals.
However, Korea is reported to have imported 33,000 ampules of Succicholine from China. But this drug has problems (gel type, not liquid type) and does not work fast and animals suffer for a long time.
As many more people criticize the government, the Ministory of Agriculture is considering alternative drugs or gas (but is not confirmed) and more muscle relaxants will be imported.
There are also unaffected farms asking the government to kill their animals (especially, new-borns) because the farmers are prohibited from transporting their animals and the animals keep breeding when there is not enough food or space for them.
Reports said that some pigs were gassed in a pit rather than buried alive. However, even this seems to have traumatized the workers.
So far, 2 million cows (58%) and 756,000 pigs (7.6%) have been vaccinated. Nationwide vaccination began on 16 January. From 21 January, 0.5 million cows and pigs in Jejudo Island as well as 6.6 million pigs in the country will be vaccinated.
By the end of January, 11 million vaccines (for 4 million animals) will be secured. Korea will keep importing vaccines. The government plans to finish the first-round vaccination before Seoul holiday (2-6, February).
Around January 15, mass vaccinations will take place across the country (decided on 13 January). All cows, sows, boars, and fed pigs in breeding farms will be vaccinated. As 2.25 million vaccines will arrive on 15 January, 1.46 million cows and 0.65 million pigs will be vaccinated on this day. And then, the remaining fed pigs will be vaccinated. Finally, 0.5 million pigs and cows in Jeju Island will be vaccinated.
However, mass vaccination does not include piglets. It is likely that pigs will remain the least protected animals.
The country has prohibited manufacturing of vaccines for FMD as people may get affected in the manufacturing process. In addition, Korea has no special facilities that are devoted to research on these diseases.
In the meantime, the government said in a newspaper interview that the country is considering changing the status from free of disease without vaccination to free of disease with vaccination (the second-degree OIE standard). This means Korea will give up the first-grade OIE standard and keep vaccinating animals against FMD, as Taiwan did. But this is not certain yet.
The first-round vaccination is to be completed by 31 January.
Cattle: 1st round vaccination has been completed and the 2nd round vaccination is beginning; pigs: 75% complete
After 3-5 weeks from the first-round vaccination, the second-round vaccination will take place and is expected to be repeated every six months.
On January 29, Jeju Island started vaccinating animals. The OIE had last declared the island free of the disease without vaccination (the first level) in May 2001.
5. Percentage of Live Burials
At the most conservative estimate, based on pig numbers only, since all pigs were buried alive, over 90% of animals were buried alive. Many other animals, including cattle have met the same fate; however, it is unknown what percentage of those animals were buried alive.
Also, at the same time foot-and-mouth has been sweeping Korea, there were bird flu outbreaks and a separate culling operation began for that.
Based on the live burials of birds and pigs, a minimum 97% of all animals have been buried alive since November 29, 2010.
6. Human Death Toll
Seven public officials have died and 36 have been severely injured in culling operations. About 100 officials were slightly injured. Several farmers committed suicide after their farms became infected.
Korean Sources for Cull News (in English):
English newspapers in Korea seem reluctant to provide evidence of live burial while there are many more reports of live burial in Korean language newspapers.
Dec. 21, 2010: Foot and Mouth Spreading
Dec. 23, 2010: Govt. Still Contemplation Vaccinations
Dec. 25, 2010: Govt. Finally Starts Vaccinations
Dec. 28, 2010: Fight Against Food and Mouth Picking Up
Jan. 3, 2011: Korea Expands Vaccinations to Stem FMD
Jan. 3, 2011: Pigs Burial Raises Concerns Over Water Contamination
Jan. 6, 2011: Massive Culling As FMD Spreads
Jan. 6, 2011: Govt. Finally Orders Pig Vaccinations
Jan. 12, 2011: Healthy Animals Are Rushed to Slaughter
Jan. 12, 2011: More FMD Cases in Central Korea
Jan. 14, 2011: Korea Seeks to Regain FMD-Free Status
Jan. 16, 2011: New Disease Quarantine Team Will Be Set Up
Jan. 17, 2011: Live Burial Brings International Boycott of Korean Goods
Jan. 17, 2011: Alternative to FMD Culling Must Be Found
Jan. 17, 2011: Disease-free Farm Due Farmer’s Own Prevention Methods
Jan. 17, 2011: Korea Gaining Over Disease Amid Harsh Criticism
Jan. 17, 2011: Live Burial Provokes Mass Uproar
Jan. 21, 2011: Demonstration Over Live Burials
Jan. 21, 2011: Rare Avian Flu Found For the First Time in 50 Years
Jan. 25, 2011: The Massacre Needs Attention
Jan. 25, 2011: Government Admits Faults in Countermeasures
Jan. 26, 2011: FMD and Mass Movement for Lunar New Year
Jan. 29, 2011: [Editorial] Brazen response to the foot-and-mouth outbreak
Jan. 30, 2011: Is Full Compensation Causing A Moral Problem?
Jan. 30, 2011: Eerie Silence Reigns Over FMD-hit Villages
Korean Vegetarians Protest Culling
With the largest cull in Korean history in progress–in fact, two culling operations, one for foot-and-mouth disease and one for avian flu–the Korean Vegetarian Association staged a cull protest and a promotion of vegetarianism in Seoul over the weekend (Jan. 8 and 9).
The culling has claimed over a million and half lives at the time of writing and perhaps a million more will be culled in the coming weeks.
Too little too late perfectly describes the Korean government’s response with vaccination measures. Typically, a large part of the problem has been economic. It takes longer to regain disease-free status from the World Organization for Animal Health if a country has been using vaccinations. That means exports suffer, so the government held back.
With a truly incompetent and flagrant lack of foresight, it gambled on beating the disease by vaccinating cattle but cruelly burying hundreds of thousands of pigs alive. The gamble did not pay off, however, and the disease continues to spread.
The government is now saying that 1.2 million pigs and cattle across the country will be vaccinated over the next few weeks and it will try to get vaccines for 6.5 million animals by the end of January.
More Killing of Farmed Animals as Bird Flu Hits Korea
Culling operations in 2008. Notice live birds sticking out of the bags. This would be the first time they have been outdoors to experience daylight.
On the back of foot-and-mouth disease, which led to over half a million hoofed animals being killed by authorities, avian flu has struck Korea. Chicken farms in the south-west were found contaminated with the H5N1 virus.
To date, more than 100,000 chickens and 10,000 ducks have been killed. The bird flu was possibly carried in by migratory birds and authorities have urged farmers to protect their flocks better. But that is easier said than done. Factory farms have the perfect conditions for quick and massive spread of diseases.
The farms hit with bird flu were near cities south of Seoul, Cheonan and Iksan, which are 90 km and 230 km away from the captial, respectively.
The Korean government was swift and brutal. All 10,700 ducks on the farm in Cheonan and 17,000 chickens at Iksan were culled and buried, along with 92,000 chickens on other farms nearby. It is likely that most of these animals were buried alive.
Update, January 10, 2011
So far 600,000 birds have been buried alive.
Here is news footage of culling operations. It shows an excavator being used to sweep bags full of birds of the back off a truck into a pit. The bags can be seen moving, with live birds inside. There’s no telling how many would be injured by this, nor how long they would remain injured while in the pits–perhaps for hours on end.
KARA has already sent an official letter to the government urging vaccinations. However, manufacturing of vaccine could take up a month to prepare.
Meanwhile, instead of the government acting in a humane way it is taking the easy option of simply burying birds alive.
Update, January 12, 2011
So far 2,700,000 birds have been buried alive.
Update, January 17, 2011
Death toll stands at 3,572,187
Update, January 30, 2011
Total dead = 5,412,465
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