중앙데일리

The real cost of beef

Dec 01,2008

Large retail marts began to sell American beef in earnest from last weekend. It was a smooth start, to the extent that 50 tons of U.S. beef was sold on just the first day.

In turn, Korean beef cattle and imported beef from Australia have been offered at reduced prices.

As a result, customers are enjoying more advantages and a widening range of selection.

However, we feel somewhat bitter about the situation when we consider the uproar the nation faced in the spring.

The candlelight demonstrations against the resumption of U.S. beef imports showed that many people in this country lack scientific commonsense and chose to believe scurrilous stories instead.

The demonstrations that began with a candlelight rally at Cheonggye Stream on May 2 this year were followed by another 100 such protests.

The city center was paralyzed every night, and some people even tried to join an irrational campaign to boycott advertisers who placed ads in certain newspapers.

Society was in the throes of Internet-led protests that lacked leadership and rationality but garnered a great deal of support.

The newly-launched Lee Myung-bak administration stood on the edge of a precipice with little time to respond.

The Korea Economic Research Institute under the auspices of the Federation of Korean Industries estimated that the candlelight rallies have cost the country 3.75 trillion won ($2.5 billion).

It will be a long time before we can forget that our entire nation was plunged into confusion by a television program trying to transform U.S. cows into mad cows.

Sensationalism and distortion snatched the ground from under the feet of scientists and experts, which was such a ridiculous situation to happen.

This entire incident has distorted the image of our country in the eyes of other countries when they remember what happened here.

The fate of U.S. beef now depends on customer choice, and we will, of course, continue to pay attention to mad cow disease in the future.

The cause of the candlelight rallies lay in the government’s failure to take U.S.?Korea beef negotiations seriously enough.

This mistake should not be repeated. It is imperative to ensure that our society matures quickly, a point we should bear in mind when we next sit down to eat U.S. beef.





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