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Citizen Suit to Save Our Earth and Life (In response to the live burial of animals during the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak in 2010-11)


Source: Citizen Suit Against FMD Crisis 2010 by KARA

Citizen Suit to Save Our Earth and Life

November 2012
Green Party Korea,
Korea Animal Rights Advocates
(In the alphabetical order)

1. Background
- Raising an objection to factory farming (formally referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), cruelty to animals, and disregard for life;
- Necessity to oppose to various problems with factory farming from the perspective of animals and humans both: factory farming threatens human health. It is also a major cause of climate change and food crises; and,
- Regardless of the chance to win the suit, it is necessary to bring about and reinforce social awareness of our rights to life and problems with factory farming.

2. Brief Description

1) Civil Suit in Relation to the FMD Crisis

□ Reason for Filing

At the time of the Foot-and-Mouth (“FMD”) crisis, there was inhumane treatment such as live burial of animals. This caused severe psychological shock and distress of countless citizens. This suit aims to raise an objection against the inhumane governmental treatment of these animals and factory farming, the fundamental cause of this problem.

□ Plaintiff

- Farmers, mentally shocked and distressed at live burial of their animals;
- Public officials and veterinarians who have taken part in the live burial; and,
- Religious leaders/participants and assemblymen who were active at the time of the FMD crisis.

□ Defendant

The government having failed to fulfill its responsibility to effectively contain the disease at the earlier stage based on its duty of care and continued live burial in complete violation of the relevant laws and regulations.

2) Constitutional Suit against Factory Farming

□ Reason for Filing (Multiple claims to be dealt simultaneously.)

- Cruelty to animals: Factory farming itself bears attributes of cruelty to animals which is prohibited based on the Animal Protection Act. Also, infectious diseases such as FMD went rampant as a result of factory farming, leading to merciless destruction of lives of animals. Based on this understanding and the reason for infringement on animals’ rights to life, animals as lives or people willing to protect them will file a constitutional appeal against the governmental policies aimed at expansion and support of factory farming as well as the relevant laws and regulations on livestock and the recently published Plan to Advance Livestock Industry.

- Threat to human health: Excessive consumption of meat produced from factory-farmed animals has contributed to the increase of adult diseases such as obesity and hypertension. Additionally, meat from factory-farmed animals threatens humans in the form of food poisoning, avian influenza (“AI”), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“BSE”), etc. Hence, based on the reason of infringement on the constitutional rights such as ‘the dignity and value of human beings’, ‘the right to pursuit of happiness’ and ‘the right to life and physical safety’, citizens will file a constitutional appeal against the governmental policies approving and expanding factory farming in the country and importing the US beef produced from factory-farmed animals. Ordinary citizens as well as others suffering from illnesses will be included as plaintiffs. As a reference, there was a constitutional appeal against the US beef import for the reason of any possibility of BSE but this was turned down. However, this incident did not deal with risks coming from factory farming itself. Still, based on the fact that most of the US-imported beef comes from factory-farmed animals, consuming the imported beef itself can be a threat to citizens’ health.

- Climate change: Factory farming is a major cause of climate change. Livestock industry takes up 18% of the emission of greenhouse gases. While factory farming itself is a cause of greenhouse gas emission, the burning of tropical rain forests to produce animal feeds accelerates climate change. Based on this understanding, the future generation, our youth and juveniles will be the plaintiffs of this constitutional appeal against infringement on their environmental rights and rights to life.

□ Plaintiff

- Citizens psychologically shocked and distressed at factory farming;
- Citizens whose health is threatened after and by eating meat from factory-farmed animals; and,
- Citizens in their crisis of life due to climate change.

□ Defendant

- Laws and regulations as well as policies approving and expanding factory farming; and,
- Governmental policies importing meat from factory-farmed animals in large amounts.

3. Process

- Would-be plaintiffs will be recruited from the victims at the time of the 2010~2011 FMD crisis and get prepared for the civil suit.

- The Committee for Citizen Suits will be established. This will invite experts, activists and celebrities sympathizing with or advocating for the cause. All the practical affairs will be handled by the Green Party Korea and the Korea Animal Rights Advocates (“KARA”).

- The Committee for Citizen Suits will make a proposal to recruit plaintiffs of the civil action as well as the constitutional appeal against factory farming.

4. Timeline

November 27: The 2012 Symposium for the Revision of the Animal Protection Act (Farm Animals)

November 29: Press Conference to Announce the Planned Citizen Suit, Two Years after the FMD Outbreak in Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Republic of Korea

December 2012~January 2013: Recruitment of plaintiffs for the civil suit and the constitutional appeal

End of January 2013: Submission of the complaint/petition

[Annex] Proposal for A Citizen Suit to Save Our Earth and Life

This is a proposal for a citizen suit to save our earth and life.

Factory farming involves serious cruelty to animals in the process of breeding, raising, and slaughtering. Animals will have their beaks cut off immediately upon their birth. They will have their teeth taken off. They will be locked in small spaces and become subject to various diseases. Animals will experience and suffer from the Auschwitz-like reality until the moment of death. Also, factory farming causes diseases such as Food-and-Mouth Disease (“FMD”), which resulted in inhumane live burial of countless animals.

As a result of excessive consumption of meat from factory-farmed animals, human health is now subject to various illnesses and obesity. In the Republic of Korea, the obesity rate is continuously increasing and child obesity rate has become one of our general concerns. Based on the 2010 National Health Statistics, obesity rate increased from 26% in 1998 to 30.8% in 2010, an increase by 4.8%. As for children, the rate of obese children aged 6-11 increased from 5.8% in 1998 to 8.8% in 2010 while that of children aged 12-18 increased from 9.2% in 1998 to 12.7% in 2010. Meat from factory-farmed animals will threaten human health in the form of food poisoning while causing new infectious diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (“BSE”) and Avian Influenza (“AI”).

Factory farming is also a major cause of climate change. Livestock industry takes up 18% of artificial greenhouse gas emission. The Amazon forests are disappearing with the expansion of large-scale livestock farming. Livestock-related companies use 65-80% of the total forest area of the Amazon. It is certain that factory farming causes the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane which are also burning the earth.

As described, factory farming has become a serious problem that shall not be neglected from the perspective of life and the future of our earth. Therefore, reduction of factory farming, awareness of animal welfare, and conversion to environment-conscious livestock industry are the necessary tasks of our time. However, the governmental policies are not aimed at this direction. Social awareness of this problem tends to be too low. As a result, the suffering of the earth and life is increasing and even accelerated.

Based on this understanding, we would like to propose a citizen suit to raise a question against this problem to the society in general. Anyone shocked and distressed upon and after witnessing all the animals buried alive at the time of the FMD crisis, anyone believing that we need to reduce factory farming involving cruelty to animals and convert to humane farming dedicated to or conscious of animal welfare, anyone believing that we now have big problems such as increasing obesity and diseases with excessive consumption of meat from factory-farmed animals, and anyone believing that now is our time to fight climate change are welcome. Or any others acting upon healthy and sound common sense, are invited.

We need and call for participation of citizens who are determined or willing to save our earth and life. Please take part in this citizen suit and be a plaintiff.
More info in Korean

If you are a citizen of S. Korea, click here to participate

Read related news article: South Korea buries 1.4m pigs ALIVE in bid to eradicate foot and mouth disease

Press Conference on Citizen Suits to Save Our Earth and Life, Two Years after the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak

Two years have passed since the FMD outbreak in November 2010. Now we need more fundamental reflection on factory farming.

- This is to announce a citizen suit to save our earth and life. -


The Foot-and-Mouth Disease (“FMD”) which swept the entire country from November 2010 to the spring of 2011 killed 3.48 million pigs and other hoofed animals while highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (“AI”) killed 6.27 million chickens and ducks, etc. The mass destruction conducted as a ‘stamping-out policy’ shocked the nation.
However, our society seems to have forgotten everything by now. The number of animals subject to factory farming has increased. Also, problems with factory farming such as hunger-led deaths occurred upon the rise of prices of animal feeds.

Now it is time to have a fundamental reflection on factory farming itself. “Factory farming” refers to a livestock-rearing system using production lines to maximize meat production and minimize the costs. This system involves cruelty to animals from rearing to slaughtering in various ways. Factory farming involves serious cruelty to animals in the process of breeding, raising, and slaughtering. Animals will have their beaks cut off immediately upon their birth. They will have their teeth taken off. They will be locked in small spaces and become subject to various diseases. Animals will experience and suffer from the Auschwitz-like reality until the moment of death. Also, factory farming causes diseases such as FMD, which resulted in repetitive inhumane live burial of countless animals.

This type of farming is a threat not only to animals. It also threatens human health. Back in 1970, annual meat consumption per capita was 5.2kg. By 2010, it reached 41.1kg. This was possible with mass production and import of meat from factory-farmed animals.

As a result of excessive consumption of meat from factory-farmed animals, human health is now subject to various illnesses and obesity. In the Republic of Korea, the obesity rate is continuously increasing and child obesity rate has become one of our general concerns. Based on the 2010 National Health Statistics, obesity rate increased from 26% in 1998 to 30.8% in 2010, an increase by 4.8%. As for children, the rate of obese children aged 6-11 increased from 5.8% in 1998 to 8.8% in 2010 while that of children aged 12-18 increased from 9.2% in 1998 to 12.7% in 2010. Meat from factory-farmed animals will threaten human health in the form of food poisoning while causing new infectious diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (“BSE”) and AI.

This is not only a problem with meat from domestic factory-farmed animals. Factory-farmed meat has been imported without ethical consideration. The USA, one of the major beef exporters, raised 100.8 million cows as of July 2010. 85% of them were factory-farmed.

At the same time, factory farming is also a critical reason for climate change. Livestock industry takes up 18% of the entire amount of greenhouse gas emission as a cause of climate change. This is larger than the emission from automobiles.

Methane gases from farm animals are a problem while burning of the rain forests in the process of mass production of animal feeds constitutes another cause. Livestock-related companies use 65-80% of the total forest area of the Amazon. It is certain that factory farming causes the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane which are also burning the earth.

This is a serious threat to the rights to life and environment of children, juveniles, and youth as well as the current generation. If the earth temperature increases by 3.5°-4.5°, the change will be as significant as an extermination of 40-70% of living organisms on the earth. However, according to the ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’, the earth temperature is expected to rise by 6.4° by the end of this century. Hence, it is reasonable to say that neglect of factory farming as one of the major reasons for greenhouse gas emission is to seriously infringe on the rights to life and environment of children, juveniles, youth and the entire next generation.

Still, there are alternatives. The Republic of Korea introduced the concept of animal welfare farming. Article 29 of the Animal Protection Act states that “With an aim to contribute to the promotion of animal welfare, the Minister of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries may certify animal welfare farms that ensure natural behaviors as well as normal lives of animals designated based on the Ministerial Order among those listed in Clause 1, Article 2 of the Livestock Product Hygiene Control Act. However, animal welfare farming takes up only an insignificant part of the entire industry. This is because the current livestock-related laws, regulations and public notices allow factory farming and the governmental policies promote the practice even further. This is all because inhumane treatment of animals in concentrated areas is systemically permitted. This is also because meat from factory-farmed animals is being imported without any consideration of health or environment.

Animal welfare farming may not guarantee the same amount of meat currently consumed by us. Also, it may increase the prices of meat. However, considering that the current excessive consumption of meat threatens human health and environment, even a slight decrease of meat consumption cannot seem to be an excessive sacrifice for health and environment.

As described, factory farming has become a serious problem that shall not be neglected from the perspective of life and the future of our earth. Therefore, reduction of factory farming, awareness of animal welfare, and conversion to environment-conscious livestock industry are the necessary tasks of our time. However, the governmental policies are not aimed at this direction. Social awareness of this problem tends to be too low. As a result, the suffering of the earth and life is increasing and even accelerated.

As citizens of conscience and common sense, we cannot neglect the problems with factory farming alone. Now we would like to raise an objection to these problems by filing citizen suits. The suits we are aiming to file are divided into the following two.

The first is a civil lawsuit with citizens to work as plaintiffs who have been mentally shocked and distressed at the FMD outbreak. These will include the farmers who were deeply shocked at live burial of their animals and suffered from it as well as people of conscience who have been mentally distressed. Animals are not just an object but beings that breathe and are alive. In short, they are life. As companions, we would like to raise a question and speak about the shock at the atrocities against these animals.

The second is a constitutional appeal against the current and future cruelty to animals involved in factory farming, threat to human health, and intimidation of our rights to life and environment. As citizens, we would like to file a constitutional appeal against these threats to our health, environment, and rights to pursuit of happiness as the current livestock-related laws, regulations, and public notices are not seriously concerned about these problems but even permit and encourage the practice.

Based on this understanding, we would like to propose a citizen suit to raise a question against this problem to the society in general. Anyone shocked and distressed upon and after witnessing all the animals buried alive at the time of the FMD crisis, anyone believing that we need to reduce factory farming involving cruelty to animals and convert to humane farming dedicated to or conscious of animal welfare, anyone believing that we now have big problems such as increasing obesity and diseases with excessive consumption of meat from factory-farmed animals, and anyone believing that now is our time to fight climate change are welcome. Or any others acting upon healthy and sound common sense are invited.

Also, we will try to improve the legal system that permits and acquits the current system of factory farming. We will work to revise the Animal Protection Act and other livestock-related laws and regulations so that a good conversion to realize respect for life and maintenance of human health and environment can take place.

We will be most grateful for participation of willing citizens.

November 29, 2012

The Committee for Citizen Suits / Green Party Korea / Korea Animal Rights Advocates
(In the alphabetical order)

  1. mark osborne
    mark osborneDecember 23,12

    What a irresponsible way of disposing of these livestock. This is animal abuse on a huge scale in some of these countries and the laws to protect these animals are pathetic. All I can say is I hope these governments grow a backbone and sort out these ignorant and cruel people who treat animals like objects and not living beings. Shame on them.

    • blainne
      blainneDecember 23,12

      this is disgusting I hope someone shoots them assholes in the head for treating them animals like that!!!

  2. michele
    micheleDecember 23,12

    I am so sad nobody did anything for these babies…omg, where is the love and compassion? Please take a stand and do something today, write our emails to our governments!! I wrote to the Japan Times Bout the Dolphins being slaughtered and the next day they wrote an article. Anything helps!!

  3. Sbeiti Victoria
    Sbeiti VictoriaDecember 23,12

    This is so brutal, there any awareness that the feeling of any animals of death it’s equal to human? The person who give that order to berry animals a life, wouldn’t hesitate to berry human been. Where is humanity here?

  4. Maja Majewska
    Maja MajewskaDecember 23,12

    STOP this cruelty!

  5. siobhan buckley
    siobhan buckleyDecember 23,12

    Animals Have Feelings And Emotions We Have To Stop Inflicting Pain And Torture On Them This World Is Becoming More And More Evil Where Will It End The Slaughter Of Their Own Babies Perhaps?

  6. nadine
    nadineDecember 23,12

    this is just sick and need to get stopped!!!!!

  7. Kathleen Barnard Kim
    Kathleen Barnard KimDecember 23,12

    I cannot express how disgusting this was to me and ever watch the video of this taken by that Korean . to live in this country really makes me feel ashamed sometimes and that was 1 of those moments where I just could not believe that this was the place that I lived . I cried and cried and felt appalled by the .government.

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