Please be warned that this is a VERY graphic and upsetting article!
S. Korea Begins Slaughtering Dogs, Cats, Pigs Over Bird Flu Fears
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
IKSAN, South Korea A 2-year-old dachshund barked chained to its dingy, wooden house Tuesday, unaware of its fate as South Korea began slaughtering hundreds of dogs, cats and pigs in an effort to stem the spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Indonesia also reported that a woman died of bird flu on Tuesday, raising the country’s death toll to 57.
The dog’s owner Im Soon-duck like many villagers was more concerned about losing her three pigs than the dog, which was a present from her daughter.
“Dogs are good for keeping us amused. But pigs it costs us a lot to buy those pigs,” said the 66-year-old Im, who lives next to a chicken farm where a second outbreak of bird flu was confirmed Tuesday, near the site of an outbreak last week in Iksan, about 155 miles south of Seoul.
“We people in rural areas depend on pigs and cows for our living,” Im said.
The government is to compensate farmers for their lost livestock, but the exact amounts are not yet known.
Quarantine officials began the slaughter Tuesday even though international health experts have questioned killing non-poultry species to curtail bird flu’s spread, saying there is no scientific evidence to suggest dogs, cats or pigs can pass the virus to humans.
Since ravaging Asia’s poultry in late 2003, the H5N1 virus has killed at least 153 people worldwide. Infections among people have been traced to contact with infected birds, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily between humans, leading to a human pandemic.
South Korean officials insist the decision to slaughter dogs, cats and pigs was not unusual and that the step has been taken in other countries without public knowledge.
Park Kyung-hee, an official at Iksan City Hall, said 677 dogs bred on farms for their meat along with 300 pigs were to be slaughtered Tuesday, and said stray cats and mice also would be killed. Another city official said pet “dogs raised individually in houses will also be subject to slaughter.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.