Arts, Culture & Media

South Koreans back on beef wagon

At first the protests were peaceful, but then things got ugly. Labor unions joined in and opponents of the president virtually shot down the government. Protesters clashed with riot police and hundreds were arrested for inciting violence. But it only took a few months for South Koreans to change their tune. This butcher chain was the first to start selling American beef again when imports resumed earlier this year. Between their 120 locations, they sell 10 tons a day. This butcher says not many people ask about mad cow disease anymore. American beef has won over some former skeptics, like this 18 year old high school student. He says he used to be worried he'd catch mad cow disease from American beef, but he thinks it's safer now thanks to heavier screenings. To this butcher, the protests had nothing to do with health and had everything to do with politics. Critics have said the protests made South Korea look bad on the global economic market. but political manipulation can't explain everything�such as how people can be whipped up into mass hysteria almost overnight and then calm down almost as quickly. This analyst says it somewhat has to do with the young nature of South Korea's democracy. Tough economic times in Korea might also explain the popularity of American beef, which is cheaper than home raised beef. One pound of American tenderloin can cost three times less than Korean. But still not everyone is convinced that American beef is safe and healthy.

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