- Andrea GantzFears of the spread of avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease have prompted the South Korean government to lock down farms.
South Korea on January 15 announced a 36-hour lockdown over the weekend on poultry and livestock farms across the country to curb the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and avian influenza.
The South Korean agriculture ministry said the movement of animals, people and vehicles at thousands of farms would be banned on the morning of January 17 for disinfection.
A series of outbreaks of FMD in recent months have resulted in the slaughter of around 25,000 pigs, and concern has grown as cases have spread.
The first FMD cases were detected in July, only two months after South Korea was declared free of the disease at a meeting of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris.
The agriculture ministry has since confirmed a case of foot-and-mouth in a cow, the first involving cattle in nearly four years.
In 2011, a devastating foot-and-mouth outbreak hit the entire Korean peninsula and resulted in the culling of nearly 3.5 million cattle, pigs and other animals in South Korea alone.
The battle to contain foot-and-mouth has coincided with outbreaks of avian influenza at poultry farms and a National Institute of Animal Science campus , which have resulted in the culling of more than 500,000 birds in recent months.