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Gov't mulls capping livestock population
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is pondering a revision of livestock farming regulations to limit the number of cows, pigs and draft animals raised at local ranches, officials said Friday.

   The idea is among a package of policy proposals reported to President Lee Myung-bak aimed at lessening the vulnerability of livestock here to contagious diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and bird flu, they added.

   The ongoing endemic of foot-and-mouth disease nationwide has sounded an alarm bell for the government and farmers.

   "There are opinions that South Korea is susceptible to foot-and-mouth and other contagious diseases due to the high density of animal farming, as many livestock are raised in small places," an official at Lee's office Cheong Wa Dae told Yonhap News Agency by phone. He asked not to be named.

   "Since grazing is difficult in our nation due to its small surface area, the introduction of such a new system is being discussed," he added. "But no final decision has been made yet. If introduced, the restrictions will be applied to large-scale farms."

   Other options under consideration include a license system for those who seek to operate livestock farms that would require them to get government permission, he said.

   The farming ministry plans to announce measures to improve the country's livestock farming system in the middle of this month, according to the official.

  


Since the first case was confirmed on Nov. 29, South Korea has hurriedly culled more than 3.4 million heads of cows, pigs and other animals, causing about 3 trillion won (US$2.6 billion) in damage. Furthermore, concerns over contamination from burial sites are growing.

   Meanwhile, the main opposition Democratic Party said Friday that it would soon reveal a "map" of a total of 4,671 burial areas across the country.

   The map, to be posted on the party's Web site, www.minjoo.kr, provides detailed information on the locations, type and number of buried animals and the exact burial date and time, party officials said.

   "We have created the system for the systemic monitoring of environmental pollution at and near shoddy burial sites," Rep. Hong Young-pyo said. "It would be helpful to the people who were disappointed by the government's refusal to make public the information."

   lcd@yna.co.kr
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