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H.K. bans Dutch livestock imports.

HONG KONG, March 22 Kyodo

Hong Kong has banned imports of live pigs, cattle, sheep and goats from the Netherlands following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease there, the government said Thursday.

The ban is a precautionary measure to prevent new strains of the disease reaching Hong Kong, the government said in a statement.

The Netherlands is the third European country, after Britain and France, that has been stopped from sending livestock to Hong Kong due to foot-and-mouth disease.

In fact, no cloven-hoofed animals from the Netherlands have been imported to the territory since 1998, a government spokeswoman added.

Europe has killed hundreds of thousands of animals after the disease broke out on a large scale in Britain last month for the first time since 1967.

''Foot-and-mouth disease is an animal disease which is not a public health hazard. It is an endemic disease occurring in pigs in Southeast Asia, including Hong Kong,'' the spokeswoman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.

In Hong Kong 20 farms reported 3,282 pigs suffered from foot-and-mouth disease between April last year and February this year. Of the affected animals, 574 died, the spokeswoman said.

She said the government has stepped up inspections of farms in the territory and keeps on reminding farmers to take precautions against the disease, which can best be controlled in Hong Kong by vaccination.

Hong Kong has also already suspended livestock imports from South Korea, Taiwan and Japan because of the disease there.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Mar 26, 2001
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