|Taking no chances: Workers load destroyed livestock onto a truck Tuesday in Kawaminami, Miyazaki Prefecture, an area hit by foot-and-mouth disease. KYODO PHOTO|
Vaccination of all cows and pigs within 10 km of farms hit by foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture was expected to be finished by the end of Tuesday before they are slaughtered, agriculture minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said.
Akamatsu said 73 percent of some 200,000 cows and pigs set to be slaughtered had been vaccinated as of Monday night.
"The remainder is some 30,000, so I believe vaccinations will be finished by the end of today," Akamatsu said.
Slaughtering the cows and pigs will be carried out quickly because people who were involved in the vaccinations will be able to help, Akamatsu said.
Touching on a request by Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru that 49 seed bulls in the prefecture be kept alive, Akamatsu repeated the ministry's stance that they should be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Liberal Democratic Party is stepping up criticism against Akamatsu, saying he failed to contain the disease at an early stage.
The party is also trying to legislate its own steps to fully compensate affected cattle farmers, including the government's purchase of the land where destroyed animals will be buried.
"How could cattle farmers start over again on the land where dead animals are buried?" LDP Lower House lawmaker Taku Eto, who hails from the Miyazaki No. 2 district, asked a Diet panel. "It will take at least 10 years before the dump sites can be used again."