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Cats shot dead at US air base in Gunsan: tipster

This image, provided by a tipster, shows a dead cat supposedly shot dead by Kunsan Air Base's BASH team.
This image, provided by a tipster, shows a dead cat supposedly shot dead by Kunsan Air Base's BASH team.

Feral cats were shot dead at a US air base in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, a tipster told The Korea Herald.

Military personnel at the US Air Force’s Kunsan Air Base shot cats with pellet guns as a part of the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Striking Hazard program, according to the tip from a person who participated in the BASH program firsthand in 2020.

“The man in charge at the time openly bragged to me how he loved to shoot anything because he was authorized to do so, and he especially liked trying to get the cats,” said the tipster.

According to a post uploaded on the base’s website in 2007 under the title of “BASH program is booming at Kunsan,” the scheme was implemented to keep runways clear of animals.

“Airmen patrol the flightline daily using three primary methods to deter these hazards. Those methods include predator calls, noise cannons and shotguns,” the post read.

But the tipster claimed that animals were killed even though they didn’t pose risks to the aircraft. The tipster, who said he dropped out of the BASH mission after just one ride with crew members, provided a photo of a dead cat supposedly shot dead by the team.

“I found the cat about a mile from the aircraft flightline, meaning it didn’t pose any risk to aircraft, and because it was near the populated part of the base, it never should’ve been shot there,” he said.

The Kunsan Air Base did not reply to an email asking about the BASH program.

Last week, public broadcaster KBS reported that some 10 feral cats were shot dead at Osan Air Base, another US Air Force base located in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. A video showed someone who appears to be military personnel firing at a cat crouching in a cage with an air gun.

Since July last year, the base began killing cats by shooting because euthanasia drugs are expensive and veterinarians can become traumatized. The practice has been stopped from the beginning of this year, an official at Osan said.

By Park Han-na (