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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid