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

It is awful to hear about how little was done for the Japanese animals. I made a fairly large (for me) donation at the time- expecting it would be for that tragedy. The letter I received implies that money was used in all sorts of tragedys- though my heart breaks for all animals- I thought those Japanese animals were going to be helped?

6 years ago

This is another reason, including killing dolphin and whale, that many people aren't too keen on the Japanese. I have to say what Margaret says makes is hard for me to be sympathetic to the people of Japan. But then, I tend to donate to animal welfare causes and skip the human suffering charities.

6 years ago

First off, huge thanks IFAW for going into Japan to educate them. That was really really needed. I want to express my appreciation of that first. And this is not by any means putting your org down. But the truth is, Japanese government has not done absolutely everything they can do even after the meeting. This article may cause people to think Japan is doing the good thing so we no longer need to keep an eye on them nor keep putting a pressure on them from outside." Like Margarat is saying, the situation over there is not good still. It's all "political BS lip service" to me. Please if you can help put more pressure to the government if you can. They will not listen to their people but will listen from foreign organizations.

6 years ago

THere is a group JEARS: - that was formed by No-Kill groups in Japan.
Here is from JEARS Facebook pages: Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support:
THey don't have anything on their website yet.

This is a great group to support.

6 years ago

I agree with you Margaret. It sickens me to think what the animals had to be going through during all this time while being abandoned. Nothing was done earlier and now it doesn't seem they will be able to do more than just an impression of a "rescue" operation. How disappointing!

6 years ago

I could not have said it better Margaret. Thank you.

6 years ago

What exactly is IFAW doing now to persuade the Japanese Government and the Fukushima Prefecture to let the rescue groups in to actually prevent more unnnecessary deaths. The ministry of environment has allocated 5 - yes 5! staff to go into the evacuation zone and rescue the thousands of animals still left there. At that rate, there won't be any animals left to rescue. Moreover, they will not rescue dogs that are roaming around - only those animals that can be identified by their owners. Most of the dogs and cats and other animals that are locked up in houses or tied up in yards are probably dead by now. The "lucky" animals that were released by their owners or broke their restraints to roam free have only been able to survive by fending for themselves. So why abandon these poor creatures? I want to see IFAW develop a world wide petition to send to the authorities in Japan without any further delay to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. If IFAW won't send its own suitably protected responders into the zone to rescue the animals then at least use your international clout to support those responders that are prepared to go in.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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