In South Korea, millions of cows and mostly pigs were mass-buried alive nationwide over the winter in an attempt to stop the spread of a severe outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that has upset the industry since November.
Nam Sang-Hyun - Owner of disease-stricken pig farm (M): I was in the livestock industry for all these years and now that this happened, I don't know whether I should go on or quit. Not only me but every livestock raiser feels the same.
VOICE: Meanwhile, the public feels outraged and regretful about the cruelty of burying 3.5 million pigs and cows alive due to the foot-and-mouth disease, as well as nearly 80 million more ducks and chickens buried live over the same winter due to risks of avian flu. Korea Vegetarian Union President Mr. Lee Won-Bok has been to 15 of the more than 4,000 burial sites scattered across the densely populated country.
Lee Won-Bok - President, Korea Association for Animal Protection; vegan (M): The pigs scream, groan and cry out for their lives. I haven't had any sleep for a month because I was haunted by the screaming sounds. The slaughtering site is literally a horrible hell itself.
VOICE: Environmental expert Mr. Lee Hang-Jin, who has stopped eating meat since the culling or mass-killing, explained some of the pollution risks of the burial sites on-site.
Lee Hang-Jin - Environmentalist, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements - Yeoju (M): It smells very bad and strong now. This part right in front us is leachate stains, that is, overflowed pigs' blood as they decay. The blood formed puddles here the day before yesterday when I came.
It will be a big problem if the wild animals approach this site and possibly become infected. And if insects contact the pollutants leaking from here they are going to spread pollution everywhere.
Park Byung-Sang - Director, Incheon Ecology Lab (M): As the weather is getting warmer, leachates will contaminate drinking water, and not only contaminating the water but once the microscopic organisms spread, we can't handle it anymore.
VOICE: Experts attribute the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease to factory farming. Lee Won-Bok - President, Korea Association for Animal Protection; vegan (M): 99% of livestock farms in South Korea are run as factory farms.
Chung In-Kwon, MD - Physician, New Morning United Internal Medicine Hospital; vegan (M): The reason the foot-and-mouth disease virus epidemic broke out is that if people consume a lot of meat that demands a fast supply. Then various antibiotics are used as well as growth hormones to raise animals quickly.
Lee Hang-Jin - Environmentalist (M): They don't care about the bad effects and raise animals in concentrated areas. That's the reason foot-and-mouth disease has become rampant. Personally, I thought to myself, “Now I've got to stop; I don't want to take other lives in order to better care for myself; I don't want to take these animal corpses into my body.”
Park Byung-Sang - Director, Incheon Ecology Lab (M): To fundamentally get rid of factory farms, the demand should be lessened, then they will stop.
Chung In-Kwon, MD - Physician; vegan (M): The best and only way to protect us from terrible diseases and to preserve the Earth so that coming generations will live on is to go organic vegan.
VOICE: With sorrow for the millions of pigs and cows who grievously suffered and perished, we thank the South Korean experts working to raise awareness of the root cause of these problems to prevent their recurrence. May we all switch to the life-affirming and sanitary organic vegan lifestyle to end all animals' suffering as well as our own.
As during a May 2008 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often urged for humanity to stop the destruction of lives and the environment as a way to ease many of our planetary problems ranging from disease to climate change.