Video of people helping animals in the "no-go" zone
Pet rescue has begun in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, but nothing very substantial. Both the Asahi Newspaper and Jiji Press Japanese news sources have reported that pet rescue from the Fukushima 'No-Go' Zone has begun. Yurie Hayashi has translated the information from the articles on her Japanese website, "Animals after the Tsunami in Japan”:
“It has become official that the Ministry of Environment and Fukushima prefecture will be working together to collect evacuees’ pets out of the 20km no-go zone. Evacuees are returning home for several hours to collect their valuables starting May 10, and they are requested to keep their pets tied in the garden so the officials can come and collect them the next day. Those pets that will be brought out of the area will be sheltered at prefecture-run facilities, and they will be cleaned of radiation if they fail a radio activity contamination screening test.
According to Hayashi, the result of the first day of pet rescue was nine dogs (including 4 puppies that were born recently) and three cats. Plans for tomorrow include two dogs and two cats. Of course when you consider that there are about 2000 or more dogs in the zone, this is barely a drop in the bucket. The rescue of these animals will take a massive effort, not just letting the people return and leash up their dogs.
Earlier today the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IWAF) issued a press release for animal rescue work to continue inside the 20km zone and announced that:
“A comprehensive document detailing response procedures and protocols to safely monitor, evacuate and treat animals contaminated by radiation has been presented to sectors of the Japanese government today. The document is the result of an International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) led summit that convened subject matter experts in Tokyo earlier this month to discuss the impact on animals left inside the 20km evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.”
The story of the animals left in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone is heart-breaking and people around the world want to help, but feel have felt powerless to do so. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote an online petition on behalf of these animals, which can be signed here. If you have twitter, you can use it to express your concern about these animals. The Hachicko Coalition suggested tweeting the following message:
@OfficialTEPCO Fukushima dogs and cats are STARVING! PLEASE HELP! http://bit.ly/mwEztW #TEPCO #311Pet #fukushima
Video was taken on April 22 (the day after the no-entry policy) by people who wanted to feed animals, even if they had to violate law to do so (click on the video link to the left). When you consider how devasting the situation was at that time, one can only imagine how dire it is now, weeks later.
Although it was taken way too long for pet rescue to begin, we can be thankful that national and local governments have started to rescue these animals. However, much more needs to be done than just rescuing a few animals per day. To continuously follow recent developments regarding the animals stuck in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, visit the “Animals after the Tsunami in Japan” blog and the Hachicko Coalition webste.
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Sources: Animals after the Tsunami in Japan, The Hachicko Coalition, The International Fund for Animal Welfare, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.