Despite more concerted quarantine measures, South Korea has decided to vaccinate all livestock nationwide as foot-and-mouth disease has spread across the country. Officials say it will not be a permanent procedure. Also, a South Korean parliamentary committee has endorsed an amendment to a livestock disease prevention law that would tighten the nation's border quarantine on travelers returning from countries hit by FMD or other animal epidemics.
Seoul had originally abstained from using vaccines because it could delay the country regaining its FMD-free status from the World Organization for Animal Health. After an emergency meeting with South Koran President Myung-Bak Lee, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the use of vaccines in areas that have not reported FMD cases have been authorized as an aim to control the disease and limit the number of animals that have to be culled.
Meanwhile, Min Park, U.S. Meat Export Federation public relations senior manager in South Korea, says that rumors linking the foot-and-mouth disease crisis in the country with the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement were not taken seriously by the majority of the South Korean public. Park noted that Korean consumers are well aware that properly cooked meat is safe from FMD.