The first alarm about a potential avian flu infestation at the poultry farm came from suspicious workers at a nearby taxi company in late December.
Health workers showed up almost immediately. Confirming the worst, they ordered Yang Byeong-hak, a farmer in a southwestern province, to cull roughly 12,000 ducks within a day.
They were his entire stock.
Yang dug a massive hole, lined it with vinyl and chemicals and buried the dead birds. Then all the other poultry farmers in a 3-kilometer radius — his neighbors and colleagues in the industry — were forced to do the same, he said.
“People have looked at me disapprovingly, and at first I was sorry, but...