Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku on Wednesday asked Miyazaki Prefecture to slaughter six privately owned stud bulls to contain foot-and-mouth disease, saying no exceptions will be made in order to control the outbreak.

“I know it could be difficult, but in regards to preventing the spread of disease, we will need to have them killed,” Sengoku told reporters.

“We are at a point where everything that can be done needs to be done,” he said, explaining that the situation “still hasn’t reached a point where we can erase our worries.”

Local and central government officials have slaughtered more than 276,000 cattle and pigs since the first case of the disease was confirmed in late April.

But an owner of six stud bulls in the town of Takanabe has refused to let his cattle be killed and proposed that Miyazaki Prefecture take over the ownership if it could spare their lives.

Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru has sided with the farmer, saying tests have shown they are disease-free and pose no threat to the surrounding area.

“At this point, I ask the farm minister to work on convincing Miyazaki’s governor, and that the Miyazaki governor work to convince the farmer,” Sengoku said.

Elsewhere, one of six “ace-class” seed bulls owned by Miyazaki Prefecture has been destroyed for testing positive for foot-and-mouth. The other five — which were produced after decades of crossbreeding — have been spared from slaughter.

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