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Gov`t mulls shutdown of livestock marts

Posted March. 16, 2001 18:42,   


The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is considering temporarily shutting down 142 livestock markets nationwide if such a drastic measure is deemed necessary to prevent a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak here. More than 20,000 public service labor corps members would be mobilized to assist in fumigation and other epidemic control work. Officials from the ministries of agriculture-forestry, government administration and home affairs, and construction-transportation, as well as representatives of the office of coordination for the prime minister, two government agencies and provincial governments met Friday to call for steps to strengthen domestic and international quarantines to head off the spread of the disease.

The Agriculture-Forestry Ministry is deliberating on whether to close 142 livestock markets until the end of April and to ban the sale of domestic animals in the meantime. Vice Minister Kim Dong-Keun said a shutdown would serve as a strong precautionary measure against the disease but that it would require great care. He said any panic on the part of the general public would curb meat consumption and hurt the local livestock industry.

A total of 10,269 epidemic control squads nationwide with a combined staff of 30,000 undertake disinfection operations four times a month. They will be reinforced by more than 20,000 jobless and public service corps members. At checkpoints between provinces and cities, special zones will be set up where passing vehicles can be automatically disinfected. The government plans to spend a total of 23.2 billion won to purchase 35 special utility vehicles and 163 pieces of disinfection and vaccination equipment to contain a possible outbreak of the disease.