Japan may lift a ban in July on domestic beef and pork shipments imposed two months ago after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, reports BusinessWeek.com. No FMD cases have been found since the government completed culling infected animals last week.

Shipments of live animals from disease-hit areas in Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan may resume as early as July 16, unless a fresh outbreak occurs, said Hiroaki Ogura at the animal health division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The government finished slaughtering all infected animals on June 25.

The resumption could boost meat supply in Japan, potentially curbing demand for imported pork and beef, as Miyazaki is the nation’s second-biggest pig producer and third- largest for beef cattle. Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the most contagious livestock diseases and can have high mortality rates in young animals, according to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.

“The risk of the disease’s spread is declining,” Ogura said today in a telephone interview. “We plan to finish culling of the vaccinated animals today or tomorrow.”

Japan is set to complete the slaughter of 276,049 animals, of which 199,293 were infected and the rest were vaccinated for protection from the disease. Of the total, 208,076 were pigs, 67,956 were beef cattle and dairy cows, and the rest were sheep and goats.

Read more.

Source: BusinessWeek.com