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

JC Bouvier
6 years ago

Hi there - We're recently updated this post with accurate links.

6 years ago

Several locations indicate this report is "available on the IFAW website," yet every link to it is broken. Where is the report, please?

7 years ago

I agree with everthing Margaret Hill says!!!! my sentiments exactly

7 years ago

IFAW needs to do much more than provide the Japanese government with advice, which is no doubt received politely but with little effect. Already too much time has passed and the world's press has largely moved onto its next story. If the Japanese people care about their animals, they should be putting serious pressure on their government with the support of IFAW to get the power of the Presson side. Politicians need to remember -animals don't have votes but people do.

7 years ago

The ideas, suggestions and comments about what we can do under the condition like 2 hours up to 4 times a year would be more likely (not 100%) safe – for example - and would not increase the risk of cancer or other disease, must be much more welcome to the Japanese government, IFAW (I just guess), and anyone who have realized the huge challenge that has prevented very strong humane intention from being fully implemented.
Please do not forget there were already so many people entered the area for extended hours and days in Japan and from overseas - without any official instruction and support for their own safety - to rescue animals, which we all very appreciate and were impressed, but you will not know how they feel when they’re suffering from the consequences years later.

7 years ago

What the Japanese Government has to do NOW is NOT allowing more people to enter the zone, but inform the world of their REASON why they HAVE TO limit the # of people to enter the ‘hot zone’ for only a limited amount of time (2 hours). That is what we really have to know. IFAW update is true. They seem to follow their recommendations to ensure human’s safety first, even though I’m not sure if it’s really safe enough. I cannot trust them unless they release all the true facts in FUKUSHIMA.
Please see Greenpeace website as your reference. https://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/B...

7 years ago

What you’re asking Japanese Government is to send more innocent well-minded animal lovers to the dangerous zone, because they are willing to sacrifice their health or lives for those animals. You are basically saying, “Don’t worry abut radiation exposure. You can think about that later. Even if they cannot get radiation therapy any more, they still have the other options like chemo therapy. So don’t think too much about that now. Just focus on the animals because the situations are so heart-breaking and human would more likely survive a little longer than those dying and suffering animals. -cnotinued...

7 years ago

Hi guys
What are you asking IFAW or Japanese government for? After or by the time of IFAW summit wrapping up, Japanese government started to consider about bringing back the pets to their owners and it has been implemented with the local authorities, just like you can see from the IFAW updates.
It’s slow and not enough animals have been brought out, but there must a reason hidden behind it, which I’m afraid the government is trying to seal. You are not talking about the animals left behind simply due to the Natural Disaster. They are facing to the consequences from the Nuclear Disaster caused by Natural Disaster. What you’re blaming IFAW is that they don’t push the authority to send more people to rescue animals even though what they are currently trying is the best way that Japanese government or experts have compromised to take it fairly safe for the human rescuers. -continued...

7 years ago

And Margaret is correct again!
From everything I've seen on the web, there have been precious few animals rescued to date- the Japanese government still refuses to allow rescues of any meaningful scale.
This is madness-there are volunteers desperate to help, and animals desperately in need of help, and the Japanese government is obstructing it. They just have endless meetings to discuss the problem...

7 years ago

It breaks my heart to think of the suffering of all the animals left behind. Our animals would never abandon us. They would stay by our side until the end. Why are humans so inhumane? Let's pressure the Japanese government and people to do something IMMEDIATELY to save the remaining animals. Sanctuaries for the farm animals, the pets, and the wildlife should be established at once. The rest of the world would pitch in to help.

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