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Flawed policy blamed for foot-and-mouth outbreak

Large-scale animal slaughter is reckless say Korean religious leaders

Flawed policy blamed for foot-and-mouth outbreak
Forum participants discussing the management of foot-and-mouth disease
Mario Jang, Seoul

January 18, 2011

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Religious leaders in Korea have met to discuss the state’s current livestock management policy and help contain the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. “As more than 1.9 million animals have been slaughtered, we are trying to find alternative measures,” said Benedict Park Young-dae, director of lay-centered Woori Theology Institute that organized the forum on Jan. 17 in Seoul. Participants at the forum were from the Network for Religious Renewal that has representatives from Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Won-Buddhism and Chondogyo religions. Lee Won-bok, president of the Korea Association for Animal Protection, said the on-going slaughter of animals is a “very reckless and unscientific” precautionary measure and asked the government to find a better way to deal with the crisis. Woo Hee-jong, professor of veterinary medicine at the Seoul National University, said the existing facilities for breeding livestock within confined spaces should be transformed into eco-friendly ones. Such an “inhuman” environment can cause various diseases anytime, he said. “A good environment for animals is also good for humans,” the professor added. Veterinary experts have claimed that the quick spread of foot-and-mouth disease was caused due to flawed ways of breeding livestock. “The basic problem is the modern people’s hyper-ingestion of meat and factory farms that ignore the animals’ welfare,” Hong Ha-il, president of the Veterinarian’s Solidarity for Public Health, told the forum. The disease that first contaminated a pig farm in Andong on Nov. 29 has spread across more than 50 cities and counties. Martin Choi Jai-ho, president of Andong diocesan office of the Korean Catholic Farmers’ Movement, said almost all of the livestock in his region have been culled. Related report Foot-and-mouth disease in Korea worrying KO12892.1637
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