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A Black Shadow: AI

기사승인 2017.03.04  16:03:51

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Korea was hit hard by another Avian Influence (AI) this winter.  Avian influenza, usually called 'AI' or 'bird flu', is a viral infection in birds that can also infect humans and other animals.  It is not the first time that such an infection has attacked the Korean Peninsula.  In 2014, 14 million poultries were killed because of AI.  The Foot-andmouth disease, a similar infection to AI, occurs annually.  The initial government reaction, however, was poor.  There was a serious shortage of labor assigned to investigate preventive measures.  As a result, AI spread quickly across the country.  Korea lost more than 49 million turkeys and chickens, which has sharply reduced the number of egg-laying hens.  There was even a stray cat found infected with AI in Pocheon.  These news stories have led to the spread of fear among citizens.  In response to the AI epidemic, the Korean government decided to kill all chickens and turkeys in affected regions in an attempt to diffuse the AI outbreak.  According to statistics, over 30 million chickens and turkeys were killed.  As a result, the price of eggs has soared outrageously.  The price of a 10-carton box of eggs is now over 10,000 won, and the cost is not expected to lower as the nation approaches Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations.  To help resolve the burden, the government decided to import eggs from the United States.  On January 14th, 1,000 tons of eggs were transported on a cargo plane to Korea.  With the import of eggs, the price of eggs started to decline.  While the problem seems to have been addressed for now, there is still the anger expressed by farmers.  The Korean government must look at alternatives to repair the financial loss incurred by farmers.  In addition, the Korean government must realize that in the long run, Korean citizens are the ones suffering from the lack of preventive measures.  The government should implement a more methodical system that ensures the nation does not suffer so greatly from an outbreak of AI again.

Han Lee Hyebin smt_lhb@sm.ac.kr

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