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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid