Livestock Industry in DangerThe domestic livestock industry is concerned with the case of pseudo-foot-and-mouth disease reported in Paju, Kyunggi Province. If the foot-and-mouth disease is actually identified, the domestic livestock industry will face a serious predicament. Exports and domestic consumption of pork will plummet.
The quick decision by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to destroy the contaminated stock was a smart move that quite possibly prevented an epidemic.
The Ministry is aware of several outbreaks in China and Taiwan. In addition, there was a report of pseudo-foot-and-mouth disease at Miyajaki-hyun, Japan on March 12. Therefore, the ministry must take preventive measures against the epidemic, make a sincere effort to stablize the prices of domestic livestock products and prepare a diplomatic strategy in order to deal with the worst case scenario.
One hundred middle-and-small domestic companies will face immediate bankruptcy if there is a ban on pork exports. The domestic price of pork had severely dropped because of reduced domestic pork consumption. In addition to livestock famers, livestock feed suppliers, the meat processors as well as related export firms are wrestling with the dilemma.
The government must come up with a plan to combat the negative impact of the disease on the Korean economy and society. The government must procure all pork exports and compensate the farmers who suffered losses due to the slaughter of their stock. Additionally, an effort must be made to promote the consumption of domestic pork to meat processors to help support the industry.
The only solution for dealing with foot-and-mouth disease is to destroy, burn and incinerate the contaminated animal. The government is urged to provide accurate information to the Korean consumer regarding the disease and its impact on meat products. A mature and responsible response by the Korean nation is extremely important during this time period.
by Kim Young-bae