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Foot-and-Mouth Shipment Ban Nears End

02 July 2010

JAPAN - The ban on beef and pork shipments in Miyazaki Prefecture put in place because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease may be lifted this month because no new cases have been found since the slaughter of infected animals was completed last week.

Shipments of live animals from disease-hit areas could resume as early as July 16 unless a fresh outbreak occurs, said Hiroaki Ogura of the animal health division of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.

The government finished culling all infected animals Friday. The shipment ban was imposed two months ago.

Miyazaki is the nation's second-biggest pig producer and third-largest for beef cattle.

Foot-and-mouth is one of the most contagious livestock diseases and can have high mortality rates in young animals, according to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.

"The risk of the disease's spread is declining," Mr Ogura said Wednesday. "We plan to finish culling of the vaccinated animals today or tomorrow."

The government is set to complete the slaughter of 276,049 animals, of which 199,293 were infected and the rest were vaccinated for protection from the disease. Of the total, 208,076 were pigs, 67,956 were beef or dairy cows, and the rest were sheep and goats.

The figures represent 2.1 per cent of Japan's total swine herd and 1.5 percent of its overall cows. The country's first outbreak of the disease since 2000 was reported 20 April from a cattle farm in Tsuno, eastern Miyazaki Prefecture.

The government imposed a ban on the movements of animals that live within 10 km of the affected farms. It also prohibited shipments of animals living within 10 to 20 km of the disease-hit farms for trade outside the area.

Across the nation, 1.47 million hogs were slaughtered in April to produce 114,300 metric tons of pork, the latest data from the agriculture ministry showed. The number dropped 1.8 per cent from March, while the volume decreased 1.7 per cent.

The wholesale price of pork averaged ¥428 per kg in meat markets in April, rising 1.9 per cent from March, the ministry data showed.

The Japan Times Online


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