Thai authorities have warned that they will be taking drastic action, including blacklisting and bans on continuing in the cattle business, against any merchants found selling cattle infected with foot and mouth disease (FMD). Reports of an outbreak of the highly infectious disease have already forced prices down by 30% in the Khon Kaen province.

Merchants argue that it is they who suffer however, as the middlemen who purchase their cattle at local markets are taking advantage of the FMD reports to force prices lower.

The anti-virus, iodine mixed chemical used to counter FMD has now been sprayed on 160,000 cattle, out of the 200,000 in the province, by local livestock officials. Cattle are also being monitored as they are transported, and the authorities are warning that documentation will be required if any animals are moved to another province.