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MIYAZAKI (Kyodo) The Miyazaki Prefectural Government has said no abnormalities were found in safety checks it conducted on all of the more than 900,000 cows and pigs raised by farmers in the prefecture following the serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease three months ago.

The prefecture is expected to declare an official end to the epidemic among livestock on Aug. 27 after the completion of processing the animals’ excrement at the farms into compost.

Since the first case of foot-and-mouth was confirmed April 20, the epidemic has had a severe impact on the local agricultural industry, forcing the prefecture to slaughter about 289,000 cows and pigs to contain the disease.

On July 27, Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru lifted the state of emergency and left the prefecture free from any restrictions on moving livestock.

The prefectural government conducted the safety checks starting July 22, targeting all of the cows and pigs raised by about 8,100 farmers in Miyazaki as part of efforts to dispel rumors about the livestock’s safety.

It had veterinarians visit about 7,600 farms through Friday to implement visual examinations of cows to make sure they weren’t showing symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease, while the safety of pigs at about 470 farms was confirmed by Monday through such steps as visits and telephone calls to farmers.

Auctions for the animals at eight livestock markets in Miyazaki Prefecture have been halted since April, but their operations are planned to gradually resume later this month.

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