South Korea bans animals linked to SARS
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea has banned the import of civet cats, Chinese ferret badgers and raccoon dogs because of their possible link to SARS, officials said Sunday.
Authorities in SARS-wary southern China have ordered a mass slaughter of civets after tests showed a possible link to an earlier confirmed case of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
On Sunday, South Korea's Ministry of Environment said it has banned the import of civet cats, Chinese ferret badgers and raccoon dogs.
"We also advise people traveling in the SARS risk countries such as China not to eat wild animals and to avoid contacts with the animals,'' the ministry said in a statement.
People who are caught violating the ban can receive jail terms of up to two years or a 5 million won (US$4,200) fine, according to ministry officials.
No cases of SARS have been found in South Korea. The first outbreak of the disease, thought to have begun in China's Guangdong province, killed 774 people worldwide and sickened more than 8,000.-AP