Uruguary: Livestock Disease Under Control

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

Livestock disease under control, Uruguayan official says

By RAUL GARCES, Associated Press

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (April 30, 2001 8:32 a.m. EDT) - The Uruguayan government's chief of staff has assured the worried country that the foot-and-mouth crisis hitting the nation's largest industry - meat production - is not out of control.

Despite the appearance of new foot-and-mouth cases each day, Chief of Staff Raul Lago said Sunday that the livestock disease is not spreading to new areas.

"New claims are coming in fast, but there are no confirmed cases in areas that have not already been affected," he said.

The outbreak in this small South American country mirrors those in that have hit Europe and nearby Argentina and Brazil. But the crisis came at the worst possible time for Uruguay, which had hoped to emerge from a two-year recession that has sent unemployment to 14.3 percent.

The meat industry is Uruguay's most important sector, generating $500 million from exports alone, about one-quarter of total exports.

Since the first case was confirmed in the western state of Soriano on the Argentine border, 29 cases have been confirmed, the daily El Pais reported.

The outbreak was the second in six months. Until last October, Uruguay had been free of the disease for a decade.

President Jorge Batlle cut short a visit to the United States last week to return to deal with the crisis. On Sunday, he put himself in charge of a new task force to fight the disease.

The day the crisis broke, Batlle was asking President Bush to extend the quota of 20,000 tons of meat that Uruguay is allowed to export to the United States each year. Instead, the United States, along with Canada, Mexico and other countries, have banned meat imports from Uruguay.

The government begun culling cattle last week. By Sunday, when officials suspended the cull because of rising criticism, 3,479 cattle had been killed.

Authorities have also begun a partial vaccination campaign - estimated at costing $30 million - aimed at immunizing 500,000 cattle in the affected areas.

Producers and some officials had criticized the government for conducting mass culls of animals, urging authorities instead vaccinate the country's entire herd.

Sen. Rodolfo Nin Novoa, of the leftist Encuentro Progresista-Frente Amplio party, demanded that the agriculture minister resign.

"It is useless to apply these policies because even if we end up as a country free of foot-and-mouth, we will also be a country free of cattle," Novoa said.

Lawmakers have called on Argentina to compensate Uruguay for the crisis, which they say was a result of their neighbor's handling of its outbreak. Argentine officials have denied responsibility.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), April 30, 2001


And it was less than a year ago that the USDA had given approval of a herd of cattle from Uraguay to enter the US and be housed in Boardman,Oregon on the Columbia River. The goat people in the US got wind of this and threw a fit and forced the USDA to back down. Now we read this! Sure gives one a real warm secure feeling!

-- Taz (Tassie123@aol.com), May 01, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ