On February 27th and March 5th, 850,000 chickens were buried alive as a preventive measure against the spread of Avian Influenza (AI). When Highly Pathogenic AI (HPAI) occurred at a broiler chicken farm, Iksan city in South Korea ordered another 17 chicken farms located within 3kms of the infected farm to kill their chickens in the name of prevention.
The Real Love Animal Welfare Farm, which has been awarded several certifications for its environmental-friendliness and its cleanliness was included in the 3km catchment area. The chickens at that farm were healthy and thriving, and had tested negative for AI.
Regardless of their numerous certifications, they were ordered to kill their chickens. The farmer refused and sued for a suspension of execution, as have many others.
The government is supposedly encouraging farms to become animal welfare certified, but it’s ignoring the health and lack of infection of these chickens, which seems to negate and ignore the purpose of obtaining the certifications. The government seems blinded to reforms that it has put in place, instead falling back to mass killing and wasting taxpayer money with compensation.
It is also doubtful whether the mass killing of infected, or potentially infected, animals is effective. It is, however, damaging to both farmers and the image of Korea as an advanced nation. In some countries, instead of killing animals, non-destructive protocols are put in place—such as disinfection and prohibitions on the transportation of food animals—which appear to be equally, if not more, effective at preventing the spread of AI.
We hope the Real Love Animal Welfare Farm wins their case, and we urge the government to apply exceptions to the mass killing orders in cases where farms have obtained certifications attesting to the health, welfare, and freedom from infection of their animals.
Featured image: medicaldaily.com