FMD reaches top beef brand region

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FMD reaches top beef brand region

Foot-and-mouth disease spread east of the Taebaek Mountains in Gangwon Province, and was found at a cattle farm in Gangneung city near the East Coast. Two out of 59 cows tested positive for the highly contagious virus yesterday.

The Gangwon Provincial Government said it had been trying to shield its last clean region, the East Coast, by shutting off some highways and cancelling all New Year sunrise events.

Gangwon Province has six regions famous for Korean beef and the East Coast was the last to be infected.

The East Coast is well-known for its Hanwooryeong beef brand, which means “Korean beef from cows raised in the mountains.”

Six cities produce the up-market brand, which was qualified as antibiotic-free beef in April 2009.

“We feel frustrated that FMD broke out even though we have been struggling to block the disease to keep the image of a virus-free East Coast,” an official with the Gangneung city government said.

“We will battle the disease with all our might,” he said, “by reinforcing quarantine measures to prevent its further spread.”

After the Gangneung outbreak, other cities near the coast such as Goseong and Yangyang became alarmed. Hoengseong city began vaccinating against FMD on Friday and injections will be conducted at farms within a 10-kilometer (6.21 miles) radius of the city. So far, the office said it has finished vaccinating 4,400 cows with the help of 132 quarantine officials.

“In the six cities known for Korean beef, only Hoengseong is giving vaccines to its cattle, and the other five cities including Gangneung are considering it,” an official at the Gangwon Provincial Government said.

Up until yesterday, 15 cattle farms in nine cities and counties in Gangwon Province reported livestock positive for the virus since a cattle farm in Yanggu city near the border with North Korea reported a case on Dec. 1.

The provincial government is now managing 245 temporary control posts. According to the office, 13,730 cows on 132 farms in the province have been slaughtered.

By Kim Hee-jin []
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