News / Asia

South Korea Claiming Upper Hand in Farm Battle Against Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Workers bury a cow slaughtered by order from health authorities after they were found to be exposed to foot-and-mouth disease at a farm in Chuncheon, about 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Seoul, 23 Dec 2010.
Workers bury a cow slaughtered by order from health authorities after they were found to be exposed to foot-and-mouth disease at a farm in Chuncheon, about 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Seoul, 23 Dec 2010.

South Korean officials say vaccinations and quarantine efforts are stemming the country’s worst-ever outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Since late November, nearly 1.7 million cloven-hoofed animals have been culled. Animal rights activists are upset - saying most of those pigs and cows have been buried alive. 

South Korea’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says it is gaining the upper hand in the battle against a highly contagious animal disease. The outbreak has decimated the country's livestock and cost farmers more than $1 billion in the past month-and-a-half.

Officials say only a few new cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been reported in the past several days. But the outbreak has overwhelmed veterinarians and public officials. Farmers say it will take years to recover financially.

Nearly 1.7 million animals have been destroyed, so far. South Korea, before the culling began, had a total 10 million swine and three million cattle.

Animal rights activists say most of the pigs and cows ordered destroyed have been buried alive.

Lee Won-bok, the president of South Korea’s Association for Animal Protection, says culling in this manner is illegal and inhumane, but those in the industry do not seem to have any compassion. He has been demanding authorities cease live burials and keep the number of animals culled to minimum.    

Lee says he witnessed pigs being flung into five-meter deep pits, causing injuries before they eventually died of suffocation. He says he has been hearing the squeals of their suffering echoing in his ears for more than two weeks.

Lee Byoung-guan is the deputy director of the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service. He says central government authorities never ordered live burials.

Lee says it appears local authorities made their own decisions to kill the animals in this manner.

The government veterinarian predicts that, as a result of widespread quarantine and aggressive vaccinations, the number of cases should be minimized by the end of this month.

There has been criticism about the delay in ordering mass vaccinations. One factor, critics say, is because it has been quicker and cheaper to kill the animals than to vaccinate them.

Another factor is that blood tests cannot distinguish between infected and vaccinated livestock. That would prevent livestock from being exported until South Korea could be re-designated as disease-free by the World Organization for Animal Health.

South Korea’s president on Sunday traveled to the east of the capital, Seoul, to inspect quarantine activities against foot-and-mouth disease. Lee Myung-bak called on civil servants to do whatever it takes to halt the spread of the disease, which also hit the country twice last year.

The scope of this outbreak is the largest yet in the country and comes ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays next month, during which it is traditional to give gifts of meat.

Foot-and-mouth disease, while highly infectious among cloven-hoofed animals, does not affect humans.  

South Korea is also fighting avian influenza. Since New Year’s Eve, there have been more than 25 confirmed outbreaks at poultry farms, resulting in the culling and burial of three-and-a-half million ducks and chickens.

Bird flu poses a greater public health concern than foot-and-mouth disease. The H5N1 virus is capable of infecting humans, mainly through contact with infected poultry. Experts worry the strain of influenza could mutate, leading to a global human influenza pandemic.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs