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Fukushima gov't rounding up stray pets from no-go zone

27 Comments

The Environment Ministry and the Fukushima prefectural government are working together over a two-week period to round up and decontaminate stray pets that were abandoned within the 20-kilometer no-go zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region almost a year ago.

The round-up began Thursday in Minamisoma and Namie where 20 ministry and prefectural employees helped to lay baited cages in abandoned residential areas, fields and shopping arcades. Officials say that although around a thousand animals have been found so far, there are hundreds left roaming the deserted landscape, NHK reported.

Animal welfare experts say they are eager to catch as many as possible before the spring breeding season arrives, after which the numbers could increase dramatically. There are also fears that animals have become feral in the year since their abandonment and may attack their former owners.

Michiyuki Nishiyama, the head of the ministry's Animal Welfare and Management Office, said they are striving to rescue every pet they can. "We take the attitude that every pet counts if it'll help restore some peace of mind to their owners," he was quoted by NHK as saying.

Local governments from six towns and cities are taking part in the project until March 15. Photographs of the animals will be posted on a webpage on which ex-residents can check for their missing pets.

The project to round up pets follows a similar effort last December when animal welfare groups were given the OK by the Environment Ministry to go into the no-go zone to pick up any pets still alive.

After the March 11 disaster, many pets were left to fend for themselves in the area. Many starved to death or ran wild. Several hundred dogs and cats are believed to still be alive, animal welfare groups say.

When the nuclear disaster struck Fukushima, officials had no contingency plan for evacuating animals. People were forced to leave quickly, and ordered to leave their animals behind. For the first few weeks, residents and rescuers were allowed to enter the evacuation zone at their own risk to provide care for animals, but they could not bring any animals out of the zone.

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27 Comments
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wow, and it only took nearly a year! oh, and let's just ignore the fact that pretty much all the other animals the government has "saved" from the exclusion zone have been put down so far

If you really want to help support a group who will rescue and care for the poor animals, donate to Hoshi Hiroshi, Japan Cat Network or the United Kennel Federation... don't fall for the governments lies about "saving" animals

5 ( +6 / -1 )

uxneko - let's just ignore the fact that pretty much all the other animals the government has "saved" from the exclusion zone have been put down

That is what they mean by 'decontaminated'.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Disillusioned: haha that is pretty much exactly what my boyfriend said. "oh decontaminate, so go in and burn them all?"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think cats should have no problem living feral... most of the ones around my house are doing that anyway. I agree that dogs should be rounded up as much as possible.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Takes 1 year to hire a dog catcher. Who would have guessed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I will take care of a Ninja Turtel if The Govenment finds any.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hayakawa's Blog: More detailed information about the Government of Japan's rescue attempt in the Fukushima 20km No-Go Zone.

This protection effort will be from March 1 to March 19, divided into 3 time frames. Based on an the recommendations of a Committee of Capture Techniques that was formed to provide ideas how to trap pets in the 20km Zone, they will be able to move forward with this rescue attempt. They will implement the ideas and techniques used by the Committee based on the results that they got from the committee's attempts on Feb. 24 to capture pets. They hope to capture an average of 100 animals a day. The animals will then be transported to the Fukushima Prefecture shelter. Owners of the newly captured pets will have 1 month to claim their pet. If they do not claim their pet, the pet will be considered abandoned and will be able to be fostered or adopted by someone else. They are making it 1 month to claim the pet because the animals that are in the shelter for long periods of time show signs of stress, so to reduce this, they have implemented this new owner claim policy. The Government officials are also asking that people volunteer to be foster parents since it is unhealthy for the pets to remain in shelters for too long of a time. http://www.env.go.jp/press/press.php?serial=14906

http://ameblo.jp/bon-bon-boon/entry-11179570434.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How are they going to "decontaminate" the animals? Shave their hair off? And why the hell did this take nearly a year to put into action? Any animals must be either completely traumatized or enjoying their newfound freedom. I am so sorry for the critters. Wish all pets could be happily reunited with their owners.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ohhhh man, this should have been the second week of the disaster. It's too dam sad what what the gov't didn't do right from the beginning. Totally pathetic having to wait this long to finally getting around helping those poor creatures!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I too am wondering how to decontaminate an animal yet alone a human being....want to learn.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think we may be talking here of just collecting animals in the no-go zone, rather than decontamination. If it is decontamination, then we should consider decontaninating the whole no-go area ecosystem and food chain, otherwise this is hogwash. For instance, if you are considering animals, look at: where they stay, where they go, what and how they eat, how they pirspire and excrete, what they get into contact with, etc. One year down the road of free range feeding in the no-go zone, all their bodies should be ful of dangerous nuclear substances and isotopes, so much embedded into their tissues that decontamination seems a joke! All these factors should be considered and all mentioned should be decontaminated...otherwise this is a waste of time! I think it would be better to kill and forget that fukushima generation of animals, after all they now do not even remember their owners. They are even bound to contaminate many human beings in the decontamination efforts. The first step should however be to capture a random sample of animals and check the contamination level: fur, carcasse, nails, teeth, marron, lungs, blood, urine, etc. This will guide their future action.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The animals have been drinking and feeding in a contaminated area for almost a year. They've been laying and sleeping on material that has been gathering contaminated alpha particles for almost a year. I doubt anyone really wants to take them back now. As the article stated, I think the primary reason for this is to prevent a population explosion of feral cats and dogs once the Spring mating season is over. (I guess the government thought the dogs and cats suspended their frisky activities last Spring in deference to the nuclear emergency, huh?)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@YokohamaMiho, Rick Kisa, Fadamor... It is so sad that this disaster occurred in the first place! How long is the half life of the contamination? This will not end in our lifetime! Have we learned nothing from Chernobyl? How many such disaster will it take to spoil the rest of the world? Seems as though we have a good start so far! I believe a walk in the forest is in order today! A brief few moments to think about beauty and clear my thoughts of this!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Decontaminate = put down.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I would "never" leave my dogs behind, so don't just blame the government, people that left their pets tied should be ashamed of them selves

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would "never" leave my dogs behind, so don't just blame the government, people that left their pets tied should be ashamed of them selves.

Brave words, but here's what those owners faced:

When the nuclear disaster struck Fukushima, officials had no contingency plan for evacuating animals. People were forced to leave quickly, and ordered to leave their animals behind.

Where are you getting evacuated to? A shelter? How many other evacuees at the shelter are allergic to your dogs? Congratulations! You just brought your dogs to a noisy, smelly location where there are people who are having their suffering added to by your selfishness. It's not good for the dogs and it's not good for the other refugees.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

how can they wait so long? i mean tepco workers are paid 8000 y a day couldnt they find more people at this rate?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fadamor: Exactly.

Runner3: So if you were faced with that situation, I'm curious, what would you do? Stay with your dog and die? Let your dog go in your place? (yeah right) Take your dog with you and convince people at a crowded shelter that your dog's life is just as important as someone else's child and more important than other people's pets who had to be left behind?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw this on TV the other day. People in radiation suits putting traps with bait where the animals have been spotted.

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No, I'ld find any transport I could, and get us all away to a safer area, the non-human members of my family as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

orange, I understand your sentiments - mine would be the same - but when disaster strikes it often simply isn't possible. On a weekday afternoon, many pets would be at home while their owners were elsewhere - working, shopping, etc. After the earthquake many people would be rushing to pick up children from school or daycare. They never got the chance to go home for the pets. And 'transport'? Did you see what happened to people who relied on 'transport' to get them out, and were stuck in traffic jams when the tsunami hit? Then when they were allowed back in to the restricted zone, they were not allowed to bring pets out. That was a huge mistake on the part of the authorities, and the time that pet-owners should have been up in arms.

Take your dog with you and convince people at a crowded shelter that your dog's life is just as important as someone else's child

If at all possible take the dog, that's a given. Of course the dog's life is important. It's a family member. Sad that it even needs to be said.

How many other evacuees at the shelter are allergic to your dogs? Congratulations! You just brought your dogs to a noisy, smelly location where there are people who are having their suffering added to by your selfishness.

By the same logic you could ban babies from the shelters because their crying adds to the suffering of others. Also smokers, snorers, people with disabilities who need extra care. In an emergency, everyone pulls together. That means putting up with stuff you normally wouldn't have to put up with and may not be very happy with.

It's not good for the dogs and it's not good for the other refugees.

How could it not be good for the dogs, when the alternative is being left without food in a nuclear wasteland? 'Animal shelters' were set up outside the crowded, smelly shelters the people were in. It's not like the traumatised old dear from down the road is being compelled to share her space with someone's mangy pitbull. And knowing that their pets were safe did help a lot of people who were themselves forced to live in shelters.

and more important than other people's pets who had to be left behind?

The question doesn't make sense. Were the lives of the children who made it to the shelters 'more important' than the lives of the children who didn't make it? Of course not. They were the lucky ones, and it would be a seriously disturbed parent who would refuse shelter to another child because their own child didn't make it. Same with animals. 'My pet died so yours should, too' - is that the kind of thinking you want to promote? I think that's stinking thinking.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The people fleeing the radiation were told to leave their pets behind but I wonder how many actually thought that they would be able to return to their homes after a few days, instead of becoming nuclear refugee's?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

cleoMar. 03, 2012 - 09:46AM JST

Of course the dog's life is important. It's a family member. Sad that it even needs to be said.

Although I usually respect your points of view Cleo, I don't agree with you on this one. I know, to that person the dog may be a family member, but to our society, it's not.

By the same logic you could ban babies from the shelters because their crying adds to the suffering of others. Also smokers, snorers, people with disabilities who need extra care. In an emergency, everyone pulls together. That means putting up with stuff you normally wouldn't have to put up with and may not be very happy with.

Unfortunately, when 4 people are sharing one onigiri, I don't think dogs are going to be welcome. Yes, it's a different story if someone personally sacrifices his/her share of rations (that's their choice), but to me, 1 dog does not equal 1 human (including babies, smokers, snorers, or the disabled) when faced with life or death situations. As much as I would like to save all living creatures from a disaster, I don't think it's possible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

to me, 1 dog does not equal 1 human

No one is saying it does. Rescuing a pet doesn't mean leaving a human behind to perish in its place. And I don't think anyone is suggesting that people should be thrown out of the shelters in order to save animals, or that people should starve while dogs eat their onigiri. Simply that, for a pet-owner, wanting to save the animal is second nature and 'but some people in the shelters might not like dogs' is no reason for letting them die.

If you own an animal you have a responsibility to that animal, and that applies to both the individual and society. Japanese society fell down badly in the way it treated the Fukushima animals.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ild rather camp in my tent, and walk the opposite direction to trouble for however long it took, than spend time in a shelter, with the risk of disease from being in close quarters and goodness knows what, and having to leave my beloved pets behind to starvation or worse. In situations like this you dont rely on the Government to do the right thing by anyone, including animals. I couldnt leave them behind, alone, hungry, scared. I just couldnt..and wouldnt.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

After 1 year... :( And who and where will these glowing animals be kept longterm??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Pets are still our responsibility. Somehow humans think pets are disposible when they wouldn't have been in the situation itself except by our own domestication of them. I am not a pet fan but a while back when I was a kid a dog saved my life. It didn't say hey I don't know that strange kid why should I help him it just saved my life. You are responsible for your pets. Which is another life in which is entrusted in your care. 1 year after is a disgracefully long time to have waited.

@orange, I agree with you on this one. I don't own a pet but I do owe my very life to one -but maybe sometimes pets are better at empathy than some humans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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