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The government plans to introduce penalties for livestock farmers who fail to take necessary steps to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases, such as avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease, government sources have said.

By revising the law on infectious disease control for domesticated animals, the farm ministry aims to raise livestock farmers’ awareness of epidemic control and prevent the outbreak or spread of such illnesses, the sources said Wednesday.

The ministry plans to cut subsidies for culling affected livestock or oblige farmers to return the subsidies if they are found to have failed to take necessary preventive measures.

The ministry will submit a law revision bill to the Diet by the end of March, they said.

The ministry also plans to give greater regulatory power to prefectural governments in terms of overseeing hygiene control at large-scale farms due to concern that numerous livestock could become infected at once at such facilities.

The government also plans to incorporate into the law revision some of the provisions of special legislation enacted to deal with the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease last year in Miyazaki Prefecture.

The special law, set to expire at the end of March next year, stipulates rules on culling noninfected livestock for the purpose of preventing the spread of the epidemic as well as provisions for compensation money to farmers in such cases.

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