Stop beef scareThe debate over mad cow disease, which has shaken the nation for the past week, must end. We shouldn’t waste our time and resources on an issue that has no substance.
Those people who have spread fear using false assumptions and groundless logic must stop their protests and return to reality. Not a single cow has been infected by mad cow disease since 1997. Not a single patient has died of the human variant of mad cow disease in Korea or the United States.
The U.S.-South Korea beef negotiation in 2008 adopted preventive measures far stronger than standards in the past.
The probability of a human case of mad cow disease in Korea, the scare that prompted the recent turmoil, is mathematically lower than the probability that the Gori nuclear reactor in Busan will explode.
After the National Assembly held hearings on the beef issue, fears about mad cow disease dissipated. Also, President Lee Myung-bak has said, “Beef imports will stop immediately if people’s health is threatened.” The government also declared that if a case of mad cow disease is reported, it will ban imports.
Regardless of how this position is worded, the government’s announcement will dampen the international community’s confidence in Korea. A bilateral agreement between Korea and the United States has been damaged due to domestic concerns.
It is lamentable to see the incompetence of the Lee administration. Any thoughts of diminishing the nation’s reputation and splitting national unity must end now.
The United Democratic, Liberty Forward and Democratic Labor opposition parties are a demanding re-negotiation of the beef issue and a National Assembly investigation. They also demanded that the clause allowing beef imports from U.S. cattle more than 30 months old must be re-negotiated.
It will not be too late for them to see how the upcoming U.S.-Japan negotiation will conclude and then make public their demands, in the interest of fairness. That is also the position of the Lee administration.
Just because we are unsatisfied, we cannot demand the re-negotiation of agreements with other countries. The administration must review what has happened over mad cow disease in recent weeks and punish those responsible in order to normalize national governance and stop the spread of fear.