South Korea plans to slaughter invading diseased pigs on Wednesday using troops of swine assassins and thermal-imaging drones.
The nation’s agriculture ministry announced on Monday that the government planned the boarish strike to hinder an influx of pigs carrying African swine fever coming into the nation from North Korea, according to a report from South China Morning Post.
Authorities reportedly tested five dead wild boars that had been found in and around the border region between the two countries this month and found that all were infected with the virus, raising concerns that the disease is beginning to trickle through the border.
The government will send civilian and military snipers to Goseong, Hwacheon, Inje, Paju, and Yanggu, along the civilian control line. If the tactic is proven a safe and efficient way of culling pigs, then the government may deploy more hunters, according to the South China Morning Post.
Swine flu has been decimating pig populations across East Asia, but the North Korean government has officially claimed that the disease has barely affected its own country. According to Bloomberg, North Korea’s agriculture ministry has only reported a single outbreak at a cooperative farm near the China border, in which 22 pigs were killed, to the World Organisation for Animal Health. If this had been the only incident in the country then it would mean the disease essentially passed over North Korea.
However, the chair of South Korea National Assembly’s intelligence committee Lee Hye-hoon has stated that the country’s intelligence reports show the disease has spread to nearly every area of North Korea, and all pigs in the North Pyongan province have been “wiped out.”
North Korea sharing any information to an intergovernmental group, even if the information is limited and misleading, is unusual for such a secretive and isolated government, according to Ahn Chan-il, leader of World Institute for North Korea Studies and a former North Korean service member who defected 40 years ago. “The fact that North Korea has reported the outbreak to an international organisation suggests the situation is probably getting out of their hands,” Ahn told South China Morning Post. “It’s an apocalypse in the making.”
As of last week, 145 pigs had been culled in South Korea since September, according to the Wall Street Journal.
South Korea has made many attempts to work together with North Korea to control the contagion, but Pyongyang has reportedly not responded. As WSJ points out, communication between the two countries has ceased since February when Donald Trump’s February meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong failed to hinder the nation’s nuclear program.