Animals in the off-limits area, Fukushima

November 4th, 2012

Animals in the off-limits area, Fukushima
Reprinting from Animal Network http://animalnetwork.jimdo.com/

There are still many dogs, cats and domestic animals in the off limits-area of Fukushima. According to the Ministry of the Environment, (MOE), 330 people are still looking for their dogs and cats.

This is the number which MOE has verified. So it could be more than 330 people. The Reconstruction Agency offered about 100,000,000 yen to the conservation activity of the Japan Wildlife Research Center. Under the observation of MOE and Fukushima prefecture, Japan Wildlife Research Center did protection activity from September 7 to October 2. However, this project was not widely known, even to animal owners. In some cases, they didn’t even know that about investigations and protection of the animals.

Now among the surviving cats are the 4th generation since the disaster. Among cattle are the 3rd generation. Preventive measures against breeding are necessary immediately not only for animal welfare, but also for environmental conservation and security of the residents.

But the government currently has no plans for preventive measures such as TNR in the off-limits area. Sterilization by the Japan Wildlife Research Center is only done in the temporary shelter in Miharu. They don’t have any plan for TNR, or any preventive measures in the off-limits area. (from the interview with MEO on October 22)

It is a fact that in and around the off-limits area the animals, (especially cats), of unknown ownership, continue to breed. Why are there no measures for this? Even right after the disaster, this issue was foreseen, but to little avail.

It is obvious that there are dogs and cats in the off-limits area. However, volunteer rescue parties are not permitted to go in to leave food and water. Cities, towns, and villages, are not permitted to do protection activity, because that activity in last year was under national and prefectural jurisdiction. Resumption of protection activity by contractors, such as that done from September 7 to October 2 this year, (captured: one dog and 131 cats), hasn't been permitted. In addition, there are no plans for protection activity by civil cooperation, such as that of last year, under the observation of MOE and Fukushima prefecture.

There is no doubt that many unfortunate animals, including the second and the third generation ones, trapped in areas contaminated by radiation, will die of hunger and cold.

They are polluted by radioactivity and surviving in an area where the comings and goings of the people are extremely limited. From the point of view of animal welfare, we must not allow the increase of such animals.

To reduce the number of animals by depriving them of food is unfortunately too common in this country. For example, the number of deer in Miyajima was increased to promote tourism, but irresponsibly so. Then, faced with a problem of their own making, the authorities used starvation as an attempt at remedy. Generally, providing food to wild cats is discouraged. So now the wild cats become weak, and perish. To reduce the number of animals without feeding is certainly cruelty.

On the other hand, the objective of “communally owned cats” is to provide sterilization and food, thus gently reducing the number of cats in the area, in a kinder harmony with nature. The legal reform of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals this year specified “because it (the "communally owned cats" program) is effective, there must be further promotion by Government and people.”

“Leave your pets” (some local governments), “feeding prohibited”, “forbidden to take out pets”. What happened in Fukushima overlaps with our country’s inadequate animal administration policies.

In this country, there are animal shelters for disposal, but no public shelters to keep them alive, (although Kumamoto-city has made enlightened efforts at zero disposal policies).

Our country, giving permission to sell unreasonably young kittens and puppies in pet shops, or via the internet, is out of line with international standards. (Unfortunately, the regulation of kittens and puppies under 8 weeks of age couldn’t be included in the legal reform of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals in 2012. We will try again.) As a result of this, mass producction⇒easy marketing⇒abandonment when owners get bored, breeding without sterilization, collection of roaming cats and dogs⇒immediate disposal by the administration. This, all for the purpose of “mass production, and mass consumption, of living things.” And it is so difficult to change.

The governments’ inaction regarding the animals in the off-limits area is indicative of animal administration policies in Japan. What is this disregard for life? It's sad that such things should be possible in an advanced nation.

Such an outdated approach to various animal problems in Japan was exposed by Fukushima. We can say that Fukushima is the microcosm of all Japan.

We have to learn from Fukushima. Otherwise Japan can’t be changed. This is not only about animals, but also our human rights and democracy. Everything is connected.

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How we should manage the abandoned animals in off-limits area

We have been making demands to the governments of prefectures, cities, towns, villages, TEPCO. Again we state our demands.

We have to make life possible for let abandoned animals. First and most basic, we must protect them, and give them back to the owners. We must support construction/reconstruction of housing, so that animals and owners can continue their lives together. If the owner can’t have them again, the government should support the search for new adopting families. If it is not possible to fine a new family, pets, including those of unknown ownership, should be able to live in public shelters. If it is difficult to get them out of the off-limits area, complete sterilization and care, (feeding and water supply) should be provided for this one generation.

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals must be made more effective in emergency situations or disasters, utilizing policies of “companion refugee”, “complete sterilization (even if it is limited-time offer)”, “complete registration of dogs”, and “promotion of microchips for identification”.

Finally, we must hold TEPCO, and the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, to account.

テーマ : 保護活動
ジャンル : ペット

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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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