[Ed. Note: Also read S. Korea Offers Therapy Amid Massive Animal Cull. Take action - Tell the Korean Government to STOP Burying Animals Alive.]
From Korea Animal
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.
1. Cull Numbers as of January 9, 2011
Target of animals to cull = 1,330,000
Completed culling as of January 9 = 1,157,000
Pigs = 1,051,000
Deer, sheep, goats = 3,000
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:
1 x ampules kills through intravenous injection
3 x ampules kills through muscle 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.
3. FMD Outbreaks as of Jaunary 10, 2011
The virus type is the same with Japan.
Total outbreak cases = 112 (certified)
Cattle = 78
Pigs = 34
4. Percentage of Live Burials
At the most conservative estimate, based on pig numbers only, 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. To date, 600,000 birds have been buried alive.
If we include the live burials of birds, a minimum 94% of 1,757,000 animals have been buried alive since November 29, 2010.
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.