By Jung Sung-ki
The National Assembly passed a revision of the Act on the Prevention of Livestock Epidemics Thursday, as foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease has been rapidly spreading throughout the country.
The ruling and opposition parties held a one-day plenary session to deal with the revision.
Under the revision, those returning from trips to countries hit by infectious animal diseases are required to undergo questioning, a medical examination and disinfection by health authorities.
If such persons fail to report their trips to the authorities or deny the mandatory disinfection measures, they will be subject to a fine of up to 5 million won.
The revision is also aimed at giving financial support to cover the cost of disinfection, quarantine and culling activities in regions contaminated with livestock epidemics and their neighboring areas under the direction of the President.
A mobile disinfection task force will be set up at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under the revision, in order to help contain animal diseases more effectively in the initial stages.
“The task force will be rapidly dispatched to regions contaminated with animal diseases and conduct quarantine activities, including transportation control and disinfection,” a ministry official said. “The task force has the same concept of a rapid deployment force in the military.”
About 1.4 million pigs have been buried alive in an effort to curb the spread of the highly contagious FMD, according to reports.
The first case of FMD, which affects all cloven hoofed animals including pigs, goats and cattle, was confirmed in November in Andong City of North Gyeongsang province, and has since spread quickly.