Disturbing old footage of mass culling of pigs is doing the rounds on social media with false claims that they were buried alive and burnt to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus in China. BOOM found that the videos are at least two years old and relate to measures taken in China to prevent the spread of African swine fever, a disease that does not harm humans but is fatal for pigs.
The videos feature a compilation of multiple clips - hogs closely packed in trucks, the animals being dumped alive in a pit and another clip where the animals are set on fire.
The first footage, of 46 second duration shows numerous pigs piled on top of each other in stationed trucks. It then shows a huge pit, where squealing pigs are pushed into with an excavator. Below is a screenshot of the video viral on Facebook. The same was sent to BOOM's helpline number for verification.
Another footage of 1 minute 24 second duration documents the setting of fire to a mound of living pigs lying in the pit.
Both the videos are doing the rounds on Facebook with a similar caption, "Pigs been destroyed by Chinese government to control the sickness may be Corona or any other sickness."
The screenshots of the video which show pigs in a truck and a pit where they were thrown later, could be traced to a news article after reverse image search on its key frames.
The article was published on January 1, 2019. The article linked to a Facebook post that was published on December 29, 2018 and its links to the outbreak of African swine fever in mainland China. Below is a screenshot of the article.
A tweet featuring the same video was uploaded on December 29, 2018. An article published on a blog on November 13, 2018 featured a screenshot from the video showing pigs being transported in a truck. An excerpt from the article when translated in English, reads, "Recently, after a swine fever outbreak in a large pig farm in Putian, Fujian, the boss sold a large number of live pigs and fled. Hundreds of pigs died when farmers in neighboring counties bought it back. The outflow of sick pigs caused panic among the locals, but officials said nothing. On November 8, the news office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the Communist Party of China announced that the African swine fever epidemic was found on the farm of Haixing Breeding Co Ltd, Lingchuan Town, Putian City, Fujian."
A news report by Epochtimes corroborated the information about the outbreak of African swine fever in northern China, the world's largest pork market, on August 1, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of pigs were slaughtered in the second half o 2018 as the outbreak spread to other provinces.
The video which shows pigs being pushed into a pit and set afire could be traced to a Facebook post from December, 2018. The caption of the post relates the burning of the animals to a 'plague.' We also came across videos of live pigs being culled by setting them on fire, from as early as November, 2018.
Another news report from December, 2018 corroborated the outbreak of swine fever from pig farms and the subsequent burning and burying of live animals.
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