This week marks the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear disaster at the nearby Daiichi power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Animals are victims of this disaster and the effects on these animals’ lives continues even now…
A rescue group called Save Fukushima Animals, based in Vancouver and Tokyo, is working to rescue animals still alive but has to do so in secrecy since people are not allowed into the area. The group is petitioning the Japanese government to take action to evacuate and save animals that have been left behind, although rescuers caught in the exclusion zone have been threatened with arrest. This video tells the story of the animal rescue efforts:
When the region was evacuated, people left their pets behind and were unable to return to the area. Those that haven’t died are fending for themselves – an estimated 3,000 animals are still in the exclusion zone.
Animals saved are taken to vets to be checked for radiation and then reunited with their owners, if possible. Otherwise, a good home is found for them.
There is no law in Japan requiring pets to be saved during disasters and the group is lobbying the government to change that so this never happens again. Donations go towards funding rescue efforts.
As for farm animals, many were left to die. This week, Euro news carried this story about a farmer who has stayed to feed and take care of animals.
And The Telegraph (UK) has carried this story about Elizabeth Oliver and the charity Animal Rescue Kansai (ARK) which is also working to save animals. Although some 5,900 dogs were registered, ARK estimates that three times that number were in the area because the Japanese have a reputation for not registering their dogs. Dogs that survived are going feral and breeding; many are shy of humans.
Ms Oliver is outspoken saying, “The whole situation for pets and farm animals after the disaster has been a shambles, with many dying of dehydration or starvation, while there is also cannibalism. The government has done nothing for them.”
One year on and the tragedy continues. It’s up to us never to let such widespread neglect happen again.