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.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
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Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
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Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
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Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
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Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
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Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
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