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Island residents split on welcoming cows

Date Posted: 2008-04-25

A plan to introduce herds of cows to the idyllic, isolated Izena Island is causing local residents some heartburn.

Izena Island, a calm little island that attracts tourists in a program called Minshuku, is facing an entrepreneur’s plan to bring cows to the birthplace of King Sho, the man who centuries ago reunited the Ryukyu Kingdom. Proponents say the cows will be good for the economy, and even provide ecological benefits from manure that can be used in sugar cane and other farm fields.

Opponents are arguing the cows would pose an unwelcome smell. “We don’t want to have bad smells,” some residents say, “and we don’t want sewage problems and water pollution problems. They claim herds of cows, even restricted to their own meadows, will “make a mess of the island’s environment.”

The Izena Island mayor, having given up working it out between the factions, has called a referendum for Sunday to decide whether the cows will be permitted. He says the ballot boxes will be immediately opened and the results announced.

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