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Parliamentary committee approves revision to livestock disease law

All Headlines 17:49 January 12, 2011

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- A parliamentary committee on Wednesday endorsed an amendment to a livestock disease prevention law that would tighten the nation's border quarantine on travelers returning from countries hit by foot-and-mouth disease or other animal epidemics, committee officials said.

The move comes as the country has been suffering since late November from the rapid nationwide spread of the highly contagious animal disease, which has so far resulted in the culling of about 1.41 million heads of cattle, pigs, goats and deer with damage estimated to reach around 1.4 trillion won (US$1.2 billion).

The amendment approved by the legislative committee on food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries will be put to a plenary vote during the one-day main session scheduled for Thursday, according to the officials.

It mandated that livestock farmers and their parties are to receive questioning, tests and disinfection from the local health authorities upon arriving in South Korea from foreign countries where outbreaks of animal epidemics have been reported.

Those who are responsible for spreading the animal disease to South Korea after refusing to report their entry or take preventive measures required by the health authorities will face up to one year in prison or a 5 million won (US$4,468) fine, the committee said. Farmers who violate the law also may not receive the full amount of government compensation for their culled animals.

To hire foreign workers, farmers have to report to the local authorities in their residing areas, according to the committee.

The amendment also requires the state to take up the entire cost of disinfection, quarantine and culling activities in regions contaminated with livestock epidemics and their neighboring areas.

It did not, however, reflect the opposition's demand to declare areas hit by the highly contagious disease as special disaster areas, which would make them eligible for state relief funds.


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