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Ishigaki animal auction reopens as Miyazaki Prefecture kills more cows

Date Posted: 2010-07-08

It was good news as Ishigaki City’s Yaeyama Domestic Animal Market reopened for the first time since April, when it was shut down because of foot-and-mouth disease in the country, but news from Miyazaki Prefecture was negative with the finding of another cow believed to have the disease.

Ishigaki area farmers had been fearful of the market prices they’d encounter upon being able to bring their animals to market, but those fears proved unfounded as bid prices were far above expectations. Although many of the nearly one-year-old calves that couldn’t go to market for three months are now classified as adult cows, they still fetched prices in the ¥390,000-400,000 range, higher than prices in April.

Some 60 buyers came to the first auction, about 50% more than normal. “I got a calf for ¥200,000 from JA, but I was still able to make a profit. I felt uneasy during the time auctions were stopped because I had to buy a lot of animal feed, so I wasn’t sure if I could make a profit.”

While Okinawans were delighted by the reopening, symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease, including excessive salivation, were found in another cow on a farm only 800 meters from where the last case was discovered. Sixteen cows were killed and buried on the farm as of Monday. “It is extremely regrettable,” said Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru. “We will all work on the matter again by thoroughly investigating the suspected infection route.

Miyazaki Prefecture was on the verge of declaring the battle against the disease ended, but now any declarations regarding an end to the outbreak will be pushed back to July 27th at the earliest.

Even Okinawa’s main island was affected by the Spring outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Uruma City’s biggest bullfighting tournament went on last month, but only after stringent disinfection procedures at the city’s multi-purpose domed stadium. Itoman City cancelled a friendship exchange with Miyazaki Prefecture, and a goat farmer in Nakagusuku lamented “we used to accept tourists to come here and look and touch the goats, but now we have stopped. Now outsiders can not even come,” because the farm makes yogurt and milk.

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