MIYAZAKI (Kyodo) Livestock auctions resumed Sunday in Miyazaki Prefecture as farmers hoped to give the vital industry a fresh start following a four-month foot-and-mouth disease epidemic that finally came to an end two days ago.

Among the eight sales rings in the prefecture, one in Takachiho, a town on Miyazaki’s border with Kumamoto Prefecture, was the earliest to reopen. Local farmers plan to auction off some 970 calves during the two-day event through Monday. The other rings are slated to follow by the end of September.

The local agricultural cooperative running the auction said it separated the parking areas for sellers and buyers, and made thorough efforts to sanitize cars, people and livestock to dispel worries the devastating disease was still present and could spread.

The calves are about three months older than usual for the auction because the farmers had originally planned to sell them off in May, it said.

The first foot-and-mouth case in the outbreak was confirmed in the town of Tsuno on April 20.

The highly contagious disease, which only attacks cloven-hooved animals, then spread to 11 municipalities in Miyazaki Prefecture, including Miyakonojo, one of the biggest livestock centers in the nation.

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