With the U.S. and South Korea renegotiating beef imports, South Koreans are protesting in the streets over mad cow. Choe Sang-Hun of The International Herald Tribune reports:
South Korea agreed in April to lift an import ban on U.S. beef, imposed in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States.Here’s what I don’t understand. If the South Korean people—i.e. the consumers—don’t want it, why force it on them.
South Korea is asking that U.S. exporters exclude meat from cattle 30 months and older, despite an agreement in April that made no such age restrictions and statements from both governments that they do not intend to renegotiate the accord. Younger cattle are believed less likely to contract mad cow disease.
The April agreement quickly became a lightning rod for surging public anger at Lee and protesters in Seoul mounted the biggest anti-government demonstrations in two decades.
South Korean and U.S. officials have repeatedly said that U.S. beef was safe from mad cow disease. But many South Koreans apparently did not believe them. On Sunday, Lee vowed not to allow the import of meat from older cattle.