Monday, June 13, 2011

I talked over the phone with a veterinarian who just returned to Kawasaki from working in Fukushima. He said a Parliament member told him there would be no possibility of officially sanctioned entry into the off limits security areas for the rescue organizations. I was absolutely devastated to hear that.

This is the politician we’ve been working with to advance animal welfare issues with the Japanese government. Since the disaster, we’ve been working closely on the rescue missions for the left behind dogs and cats. Did he come to conclude this is the end of the road for the rescue efforts? That’s just what the government wants us to do, give up. If it were his own family left there, wouldn’t he venture out and try to rescue them? But if they were dogs or cats, he wouldn’t bother. It is the same as saying the lives of the dogs and cats are less worthy. They are still the precious lives.

After hearing this horrible news, I contacted the politician and urged him to please be the voice of the animals who couldn’t speak, who were relegated to neglect and abandonment. We need his help to turn the dire situation around, to prompt the Japanese government to do the responsible things they are supposed to do.

After the disaster, Fukushima prefectural government and the local veterinarian association cooperated and formed an animal rescue department for the prefecture. However, the operation is shockingly small. There are only five people in the department; one official and four veterinarians serving the entire prefecture. I have visited their office to learn their operation. The phone’s ringing off the hook from the displaced residents inquiring, requesting protection of their pets, filing complaints, and so on.
The staff has been working tirelessly everyday, late into nights and even through weekends. Their days are spent taking care of the rescued animals in their facility, finding their owners, and going out to the off limits areas to leave food and water, as well as rescuing the animals left out there, in addition to answering the phone when they can, as there are no designated office staffs. I must repeat, all of this is done by the five people. The day of my visit, I was fortunate to meet one of the veterinarians who returned to the office from a feed and rescue mission. He was gaunt from prolonged overwork and exhaustion, but was eager to tell me what they did. But the cold fact is, no matter how dedicated and hard working they are, five people alone cannot possibly save all the animals left in Fukushima. This grossly inadequate situation must be solved urgently by the national government.


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Message from Akiko Yui, President and Founder of TNR Japan Animal Welfare Hospital
I believe that helping animals in need, existing in symbiosis with animals, and fostering a loving heart lead to an improvement in one’s character of kindness and generosity. The killing of animals due to decisions made by administration goes against my firm belief in preventing cruelty to animals. Animal Rescue Fund’s most important goal is to reduce the number of animals killed in Japan to zero by urging administration to change, reform, and improve the prevention of cruelty to animals. In order to reduce the number of animals in need, we work to raise awareness and support for the importance of sterilization operations. Each year, we spay and neuter more than 1000 stray cats. We are always putting animals up for adoption to help those lives already born in finding a loving home.

TNR Japan Animal Welfare Hospital:
We first opened our TNR Japan Animal Welfare Hospital in February of 2011 in an effort to make our dream a reality - to lower the number of dogs and cats killed in Japan to zero. At our hospital, we spay and neuter cats to reduce the number of unfortunate stray cats. Our hospital strives to help unfortunate animals in need of medical care.
The lives of numerous pets and livestock were lost as a result of the unprecedented earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan on March 11th 2011 and the radiation disaster caused by the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Animal Rescue Fund goes directly to the 20km evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant to rescue animals.
Animal Rescue Fund is based in Kanagawa Prefecture’s TNR Japan Animal Welfare Hospital. Therefore, the animals that we rescue from Fukushima Prefecture are brought to TNR Japan Animal Welfare Hospital located in Kanagawa Prefecture. Here, the rescued animals receive medical care and are returned to their owners or are put up for adoption.
We also work in urging the government and administration of Japan to support the protection of animals in need.


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