Japan gov't to slaughter cattle to combat foot-and-mouth disease epidemic

08:54, May 20, 2010      

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The Japanese government said Wednesday it will cull all pigs and cows within a 10-kilometer radius of the areas hit by foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture.

In a move to prevent the further spread of the disease, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said at a press conference Wednesday that 205,000 cows and pigs will be given vaccines before they are slaughtered in order to delay the spread of the infection.

"We will start giving vaccines immediately from today," Akamatsu said.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, currently under fire after admitting local officials could have prevented the epidemic had they not overlooked the infection during an on-site inspection in March, vowed to take "vigorous" actions to prevent the spread of the infection.

"To prevent the spread of infection, we need to take vigorous measures including the use of vaccines," the prime minister said.

"We'd like to tackle the problem with strong determination as a government," he added.

The farm ministry also announced Wednesday that healthy cattle would also be slaughtered in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading as local farmers are banned from moving their livestock away from the infected areas.

The move to vaccinate and slaughter cattle in the four infected towns in Miyazaki Prefecture, southern Japan, comes a day after Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru declared a state of emergency over the outbreak.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王寒露)

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