Koreans kill pigs in rage and a panic
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2002:
SEOUL–Former South Korean commandos outraged by the April 21
visit of Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to a Tokyo shrine
honoring 14 war criminals, among other World War II dead, on April
23 “hacked to death a squealing pig daubed with the name ‘Koizumi,'”
Reuters and Agence France Presse reported. The men intended to kill
the pig at the Japanese embassy, but were stopped by riot police,
so stabbed the pig repeatedly inside a van.
“They then shoved the still shrieking animal into the road
some 200 meters away from the Japanese embassy,” Reuters said. “The
riot police struggled to stuff the badly bleeding pig into a sack.
The pig soon fell silent and died.”
The killing was a reminder of the bitterness toward Japan
that lingers among Koreans who remember the brutality of Japanese
occupation, 1905-1945–and was a harbinger of the massacre of more
than 110,000 pigs in the Anesong district, 50 miles south of Seoul,
in response to a hoof-and-mouth disease outbreak that apparently
started on April 27 but was not reported by the farmer until May 2.
Reuters on May 5 published a photograph of four farm workers
kicking and pulling piglets out of a truck into a trench where they
were reportedly buried alive.
South Korean officials urged hasty killing not only from fear
of losing the nation’s most lucrative branch of agribusiness, but
also because the bacteria that causes hoof-and-mouth could easily be
transported throughout the world on the shoes and clothing of World
Cup soccer fans.
“The World Cup preparations were already dogged by sluggish
ticket sales and strike threats,” said Reuters, making no mention
of the boycott called by animal advocates to protest against
dog-and-cat-eating, which in many nations drew as much media
attention as the World Cup itself.
By May 20, hoof-and-mouth had infected some cattle as well
as pigs, had reportedly spread into Jinchon and Yongin counties,
and had reached the edge of a six-mile-wide quarantine zone that was
intended to keep the disease out of the cities of Suwon and Seoul,
which were both to host World Cup soccer matches.
“The outbreak threatened to destroy an industry that was
previously hit by hoof-and-mouth only two years ago, when more than
2,000 animals were killed,” Don Kirk of The New York Times wrote.
“Pork exports, mostly to Japan, earned $339 million that year, but
dropped precipitously after Japan banned Korean pork. Japan did not
lift the ban” until only a few days before the current outbreak began.