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

7 years ago

I live in Japan, and every day I see videos and newspaper articles about the farm animals and pets that are slowly starving to death in the nuclear exclusion zone. IFAW claimed victory after publishing their official animal rescue plan. But in the last 15 days the Japanese government has only rescued a handful of pets. There are still thousands of animals waiting for rescue.
Why is IFAW silent? Surely IFAW knows that the animals are still suffering. Where are the press releases describing the ongoing horrors? Where are the petitions? IFAW is a big well funded organization, but it is doing nothing to help the animals.
I am so very disappointed in IFAW's lack of action and can no longer support them. Instead, I urge people to support the local organizations in Japan that have done so much more than IFAW to help the animals. Please support JEARS, The Hachiko Coalition, and Nippon SPCA.

7 years ago

Thank you IFAW, but many of us have already read the report and recommendations. The holding of the summit, the writing of the report and the development of recommendations is less than half the battle as anyone who has ever tried to change things knows. The really hard work is getting the report's recommendations implemented.
The report recommended that "every effort should be made to immediately address the needs of animals in the identified restricted zones" and to "start the rescue and monitoring procedures immediately". The protocols for rescue, decontamination, transport and sheltering are set out in the report.
The report expresses the "sincere hope that the National Government and the Prefecture will consider the immediate implementation of our recommendations."
Please tell us in an updated blog what IFAW is doing to get its recommendations implemented immediately. The lives of hundreds if not thousands of animals are at stake here. Time is of the essence.

7 years ago

Hi all - We've updated this post with a link to the English language version of the report. Hope that clears things up a bit.

7 years ago

Do you think that the Ministry of Environment would tell you the truth? People are not allowed to take their animals out of the area, and nobody is allowed to go and feed them. Animals are dying in fear, thirst and hunger. When people went back to their home temporally , only one dog was allowed to take back.. I am a Japanese, but never heard that the Japanese governmental bodies have considered about the animal welfare. Japanese people are desperately asking help internationally as our own government would not listen. Please have a look at youbube Fukushima Animal SOS

7 years ago

I am all for going into the area and getting evry living creature out of there. I have signed every petiton I saw since then about this issue, some appear on the Care2 site. But what I believe is that there is something more to this that the Japenese are not willing to say, the line about containment at the plant... and then they won't allow you within 20k of the place. Something is wrong with it and they are not talking.

7 years ago

There existed already a petition at least for the farm animals. Now it is closed and I will copy the text they wrote .As well they are referring to another petition which is for animals in zoo's:
We could collect more than 6,000 signatures from over 150 countries for the past 3 weeks. We will give the second signature list to the stakeholders On May 23rd. Thanks to you, several senators for the governing party have started to work on establishing a sanctuary farm (a free range farm) for holding cattle currently roaming in that zone. We hope we will have the first sanctuary farm in Japan. Thank you very much again for your help.
If you would like, please check another petition site. https://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/animals-in-japan...
Unfortunaltely I can't find any petition for pets. There was only a demand to write to the japanese government to let welfare groups in to rescue those pets, which they allowed. So were are the groups ????

7 years ago

Well said! They wouldn't abandon us would they, we could learn from animal loyalty.

7 years ago

We need to ba able to leverage the support and concern of people all over the world who want to do something to allow people into the zone to try and save these animals. Come on IFAW - give us some options!

7 years ago


7 years ago

Is it possible to start a world wide petition to urge the Japanese government to allow rescue groups in the zone to help the animals? Is there already a petition? If so, please advise so I can sign it immediately.

Thank you.

Post a comment


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