KARA: [Press conference] We condemn The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for their loopholes in legislation
Below is translation of Korea Animal Rights Advocates’ Press Conference on May 17, 2019:
We condemn The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for their loopholes in legislation.
Ban the feeding of food waste to animals.
Pigs fed ‘janban’ (food waste) have been found to be the main cause of African Swine Fever (ASF). Accordingly, the Ministry of Environment has announced legislation to amend the Waste Control Act to prohibit the feeding of such food waste to pigs.
It is widely permitted to feed food waste to dogs and pigs, and the feeding of food waste is only prohibited when there is a concern about disease in the livestock, which is a gaping hole in the system. According to the current system, it is still permissible to feed pigs food waste, so-called ‘wet food’ at all times, and there are no restrictions on collecting and feeding food waste to dogs. The food waste allowed to be fed to pigs as wet food is highly likely to be a major contributor in disease transmission, and the simple lack of any restrictions on feeding food waste to dogs is simply turning a blind eye to the spreading of viruses.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, ASF is a deadly viral hemorrhagic infectious disease, and because it has no preventive vaccine or antidote it has a mortality rate of 100%. Even after the pig has died, the virus lingers in the pig’s blood and bone marrow, and if food waste containing infected animal tissue is fed to other animals, the virus can spread rapidly. The ASF virus is strong enough to survive for months to even years in refrigerated and frozen meats. ASF can also be transmitted through various kinds of ham and sausage meats contained in food waste. Even after decades of global effort, a vaccine has not been developed for ASF. Currently, the best way to prevent the virus is to stop the feeding of food waste.
Pig farms that use food waste as feed are estimated to be at about 267 in number, that’s 4.3% of all pig farms. However, the bigger issue is that at least 3,000 farms scattered around the country are collecting food waste for use as feed for dogs instead of proper dog food. Meat-containing food waste, which is the dog feed of choice for dog farmers, is the main source of ASF. In addition to reported dog farms, illegal dog farms are found every day, and the public is already aware about the terrible animal abuse at these farms, including the feeding of garbage. The feeding of food waste is much more of a problem in dogs than in pigs.
The Ministry of Environment is not considering a complete ban on the feeding of food waste to animals, because they say there is no other easy alternative for the disposal of food wastes. The feeding of food waste is banned for cows due to concerns about mad cow disease. Because of concerns about bird flu, chickens can only be fed food waste that has been re-manufactured into dry feed with less than 14% moisture. If there are any concerns raised about disease in pigs, the Ministry of Environment has stated they will prohibit the feeding of garbage to pigs. So does this mean that the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will collect all this food waste that cannot be fed to other animals because of concerns about disease and then feed it to dogs?
ASF has also been found to be transmitted through vehicles contaminated with the virus and infected mites. Even if pig farmers stop feeding food waste to pigs, the entire country remains in a state of constant risk as long as there are vehicles and people carrying food waste to and from the nation’s dog farms. The vehicles and people that go to and from dog farms and the food waste fed to dogs will soon become a major source of virus proliferation. We cannot expect any effectiveness in the prevention of these viruses spreading when current legislation only prohibits the feeding of food waste when there is concern about disease. The only way to prevent the spread of these deadly viruses from thousands of dog farms, is to prohibit the feeding of food waste to all animals.
The Ministry of Environment says it is concerned about the ability to immediately dispose of all of this food waste. However, food waste can be used as fertilizer and does not have to be fed to animals. The Rural Development Administration has reported that food waste that has been re-manufactured into dry feed is free from odor and toxic substances, and has no effect on the soil environment, and thus can be used as raw material for fertilizer. The use of food waste as raw material for fertilizer is expected to replace castor-based fertilizers containing ricin which are toxic and have environmental pollution concerns. Another acceptable practice would be to only use food waste that has been re-manufactured into acceptable dry feed by strictly controlled vendors. We cannot justify the use of animals as a way to dispose of food waste without even attempting other alternatives.
Food waste carries a high risk of transmission of not only ASF but also other various infectious diseases. Even after sterilization, toxins can be emitted during the decomposition process. Unless we strictly control the feeding of food waste to animals, the entire country is at risk of contracting ASF and other infectious diseases. Animals are not garbage disposals. The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs must ban the feeding of food waste to animals and actively regulate the issue before the spread of various infectious diseases such as ASF becomes uncontrollable in the country. KARA will continue to actively condemn the ridiculous behavior of both the Ministry of Environment, which considers animals as garbage disposals, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which does not regulate the issue, so that this animal abuse is stopped and the health of farm animals and citizens can be protected.
May 17, 2019
Click HERE to see [KARA Press Release] The Ministry of Environment’s Neglect of Responsibility for Waste Management Results in Dog Meat Farms Becoming Furnaces for Food Wastes.
Below is KARA’s Facebook post on May 18, 2019:
환경부에 묻습니다. 그럼 남은 음식쓰레기는 모두 개들에게 먹이자는 얘기인 건가요?
BSE(속칭 광우병) 우려로 소에게는 음식쓰레기를 먹일 수 없습니다.
조류독감 우려로 닭에게 멸균건조 되지 않은 음식쓰레기를 먹일 수 없습니다.
현재 환경부는 아프리카돼지 열병 우려로 돼지에게 ‘음식쓰레기 자가 급여’금지 입법을 추진하고 있습니다.
환경부는 돼지 음식쓰레기 자가 급여로 방역에 위협을 받는 대다수 돼지사육 농가와 농식품부의 요청에 의해 마지못해 ‘돼지에 대해서만’ 할 수 없이 음식쓰레기 자가 급여 금지를 수용하는 입장입니다. 당장 개농장에서 쓰레기를 처리해 주지 않으면 방법이 없음을 분명히 밝혔고 이는 입법예고안의 내용으로부터도 확인됩니다.
그동안 환경부는 자원재활용이라는 겉보기에는 그럴듯한 정책을 추진해 왔습니다. 그러나 그 내용은 엉터리 보여주기 행정에 불과했습니다. 그 결과 음식쓰레기 자원재활용 명목으로 처치 곤란한 음식쓰레기를 개농장에 몰아주어 세계유일 한국 개농장의 규모화와 만연을 초래했습니다.
이제 개농장이 아니면 당장 쓰레기를 처리할 대책이 없다고 환경부는 말합니다. 카라는 이번 폐기물 관리법 개정안에 대한 문제 제기를 하면서 그간 환경부의 어처구니없는 졸속 행정이 가져온 냄새나는 파국을 낱낱이 밝힐 것입니다.
음식쓰레기의 폐기처리를 규정하는 법률은 환경부 소관 폐기물 관리법입니다. 폐기물 관리법이 개농장과 돼지농장에서 ‘자기가 키우는 동물에게 급여’ 목적으로 음식쓰레기를 수거해서 먹이도록 허용하는 한, 농식품부 소관의 사료관리법으로 이를 원천 금지할 방안이 없습니다.
농식품부도 마찬가지입니다. 그들은 음식쓰레기 동물학대를 철저히 방치해 왔습니다. 카라는 농식품부에 방역 및 동물보호를 위해 생쓰레기를 개농장에서 가져다 먹일 수 없도록 폐기물 관리법의 개정을 환경부에 강하게 요구하여 관철해 줄 것, 농식품부 자체적으로 음식쓰레기 급여를 제어할 수 있는 방안을 찾아줄 것을 강력히 요구할 것입니다.
환경부와 농식품부의 땜질 법개정 규탄한다!