Japan Quake Update: Without Ceremony, Measures are Taken for Animals

It’s not the end of this crisis, at least not for the animals because we know that there are thousands more in there. After weeks of inadequate care and exposure to radiation, we know we’ll see many of them die and many will be euthanized.

It has been such an important week for animals inside the 20km ‘hot zone’ around the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan. The week started off strong with members of the International Fund for Animal Welfare-led Committee handing over a comprehensive 10-page report to the Government of Japan detailing steps and procedures to safely rescue animals abandoned in the ghost towns inside the infamous ‘exclusion zone’.

The report was the result of a two-day summit attended by some of the world’s top experts in radiation and its effects on animals. We were of course eager to learn about the result but knew that at the end of the day, a paper was drafted and hands were shaken, the real merit was going to be how that translated into action.

We didn’t have to wait much for an answer. On May 10 we received news that the Ministry of Environment (MoE), who had representation in our summit, had launched an operation in Fukushima to start getting some of these animals out!

After several back and forths with our colleagues in Japan we learned about the Fukushima Prefecture ‘Temporary Coming Home’ project which was allowing a period of ‘grace’ for residents to return to their homes, and among other things bring their pets back out. In addition several local animal welfare groups forming the Emergency Animal Headquarters were collaborating with the MoE to rescue abandoned dogs and cats.

Help was on its way, and not only that, the MoE has been following our recommendations on how to carry out these operations and ensure animal and human safety.

It’s not the end of this crisis, at least not for the animals because we know that there are thousands more in there. After weeks of inadequate care and exposure to radiation, we know we’ll see many of them die and many will be euthanized. This has been a sobering experience. There is no reason to celebrate or cheer, but the fact that animals are no longer being ignored is definitely a step in the right direction.

IFAW’s primary goal in this response is to do our utmost to ease the suffering of all animals - pets, wildlife and farm animals and ensure that they are treated humanely. The news out of Japan this week gives us hope.

-- IR

The direct link to the English version of the report available on the IFAW website.

Comments: 37

6 years ago

You're wrong ctodd. There is a 20-30km zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Plant that was affected by the earthquake but not devastated by the tsunami. The residents were forced by the government to evacuate the area to shelters outside the 20 km zone initially (now 30km) because of radiation leakage from the damaged nuclear plant. They were not allowed to take their pets because the shelters refused to allow them. Also many thousands of farm animals were left behind. Many starved to death or died of thirst. Voluntary rescue groups like JEARS and Kinship Circle went in to rescue many before they were stopped by the government on April 22. Many animals have died but there are still many left alive in the zone (those that were not locked or chained up) waiting and needing to be rescued.

6 years ago

Robert, the cats and people on cat island survived the tsunami and are doing well. Thanks for your concern!

6 years ago

IFAW, a global petition is sorely needed. Japan is doing little despite all of our efforts. Thank you Margaret for continuing the effort to save animals!

6 years ago

What a sham! There cannot be any surviving animals to save after all this time, unless it is the ones who were fortunate enough to be freed of confinement when the tsunami hit.

6 years ago

Margaret is right. A global petition from IFAW PLEASE!

6 years ago

hear hear Margaret, u right i agree. If thats the case then why is IFAW keep asking for charity to help these animals and thems not doing owt. (without prejudice).

6 years ago

Immediately after the tsunami, I read there was a northern Japanese island (referred to as "Cat Island")where cats were being cared for and it was feared that the tsunami had washed all the cats out to sea. Does anybody know if any of the cats survived, and if they are being cared for?

6 years ago

Sad, really sad!! I hope, just hope some real animals lovers came back sooner to help!!! People still ask why this happens to them? Maybe it's a test.. Still thinking about yourself only? DON'T EVER FORGET YOUR COMPANIONS!!! THEY NEED US!! THEY CAN SPEAK BUT THEY

6 years ago

Well said Margaret. It's been so upsetting to think of all those poor animals just left abandoned to die. How sad that the animals roaming around are not able to be rescued, just the ones that have been identified by their owners. I think ignoring the animals' plight for so long after this disaster is a poor reflection on the government there.

6 years ago

Thank you for the news about this question.
But I can avoid thinking that it is terrible that it took so much time before the japanese government did something to help all the poor animals left behind...how many are already dead...

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