A majority of Koreans are skeptical of the safety of imported U.S. beef after the latest outbreak of mad cow disease there, but there is less concern than during the 2008 mass protests against imports of American beef.
In a survey by Media Research for the Chosun Ilbo, 65.5 percent of respondents said American beef is unsafe, and 29.1 percent said it is safe. In contrast, a survey in June of 2008 showed 78.8 percent believing U.S. beef was unsafe and only 17.1 percent safe.
Also, 60.4 percent of respondents said they agreed with the claims of the organizers of the latest protests seeking a halt to imports of U.S. beef, whereas in 2008, when protests paralyzed downtown Seoul for weeks, 75.6 percent of respondents said they agreed with the organizers.
When asked why they thought the number of protesters is smaller than in 2008, 45.4 percent of respondents said whether to eat U.S. beef or not should be people's individual choice.