By Park Si-soo
People in the United States, Canada and Britain are moving to boycott Korean products to protest the live burials of animals by Korean authorities to contain the deadly foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease.
Nearly 4,800 people around the world have signed a petition running on a website (www.thepetitionsite.com) since early this month, calling for an immediate halt to the brutal practice and the introduction of a wider use of vaccine.
Some of the petitioners from other countries, including Italy, Chile, Mexico, Germany and Colombia, have openly supported the boycott campaign on the website, portraying live burials as a “ruthless and barbaric” act.
A couple of international animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), are also expected to join a campaign against the much disputed disposal measure.
“Personally, I am boycotting South Korean products as a way to protest against the evil that is being done,” Bonnie Shulman in Canada told The Korea Times, Monday. “I trust that many others will do the same now that we have seen the pictures of live pigs being dumped into a hole.”
Shulman said people on Facebook, a social-networking website, were making the commitment individually. “I saw someone on Facebook urging all her contacts to spread the news of this incident,” the Canadian said.
A great number of photos of pigs standing before or being dumped into a hole prior to being buried alive have been released worldwide through media outlets since the first outbreak of FMD in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, on Nov. 29.
With the spread of the disease showing little sign of abating, the government has so far buried more than 10 percent of the total number of pigs and cattle of the country — 126,000 cows, 1.5 million pigs — and other cloven-footed animals, according to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
News of blood running through taps early this month in a village in Paju, northern Gyeonggi Province, near a burial site shocked the public, provoking a strong outcry over the measure.
Animal rights activists here claimed the cows were mostly poisoned before burial in accordance with guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
However, civil servants from the central and local governments have buried most pigs alive in pits in remote hills and fields due to the shortage of the euthanasia solution and manpower, animal rights group members claim. South Korea is an OIE member.
The website running a global petition against the burial practice, under the title “One Million Pigs Buried Alive in South Korea,” was bombarded with messages condemning the country’s quarantine authorities. Many of them contained messages supporting the boycott of Korean products.
“Vaccinate, don’t exterminate! Please stop this inhumane practice... today!” Harvey Krukowski wrote after signing the petition. “Develop a vaccination program that will stop the disease. I will not buy products from Korea... ever!”
Another petitioner, whose identity was withheld, said, “This makes me want to boycott all products from South Korea.”
Joyce D’Silva, director of public affairs for Compassion in World Farming, a British animal rights group, said in a recent interview that his group was appalled that Korea is allegedly throwing pigs into pits and burying them alive.
“’This is totally contrary to international guidelines on humane culling the Korean government endorsed five years ago,” the director said.
[단독] 해외 동물보호단체 “한국상품 불매운동 하겠다”
구제역 감염의심 동물을 생매장하는 한국정부의 방역방식에 항의하는 미국, 캐나다, 영국 국민들이 한국상품 불매운동을 전개하기 시작했다.
약 4,800여명이 인터넷 청원사이트(www.thepetitionsite.com)에 지지서명을 했고, 이 숫자는 계속 증가하고 있다. 칠레, 멕시코, 독일, 콜롬비아 등 세계각국에서도 지지성명이 줄을 잊고 있으며 그 중 일부는 정부의 이러한 방역방식을 “잔혹하고 야만적”인 행동이라 비난하고 있다.
몇몇 동물보호 단체들도 이러한 불매운동에 가세할 움직임을 보이고 있다.