Taiwanese farmers urge continuation of US pork import ban

TAIPEI - Hundreds of angry farmers pelted riot police with rotten eggs Tuesday at a rally in Taiwan's capital demanding the government stand firm on banning US pork imports containing a controversial hormone.
calendar icon 21 August 2007
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Taiwan currently bans ractopamine, a hormone that promotes the growth of lean meat in pigs and cattle, calling it a health hazard. The ban covers the use of the hormone in domestic produce and imported meats.

However, the government has said it is considering lifting the ban on imported meats containing ractopamine, and media reports have said it will decide next month whether to maintain or partially lift the ban.

Taiwan's farmers fear that, if the import ban is lifted, their produce will suffer in the domestic marketplace, and local reports suggested the government is under pressure from the United States — where its use is permitted — to lift the ban.

Spokesman Thomas Hodges of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. Embassy on the island, refuted the charge.

"We wouldn't characterize AIT's advocacy of a science-based evaluation of the use of ractopamine as pressure," he said, referring to a reported government study of the growth hormone.

Source: International Herald Tribune
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