Seeking a third way, allowing continuation of animal lives by human hands.

March 16th, 2012

Questions and answers with House of Representatives member Tsutomu Takamura at the Committee on Environment.

*Reprinting from Mr.Tsutomu Takamura’s blog.

The relationship of animal welfare and farm animals, such as runaway cattle in Fukushima's off-limits area.

Pet rescue activity in the off-limits area has been done by private rescue parties. However, livestock, including 3500 cattle and 30,000 pigs, were abandoned, and died of starvation. Still at this time several hundred cattle run loose. There are reports of accidents and damage to homes. This situation is criticized both within, and outside the country, in relation to the revival of the disaster area, and animal welfare. The instruction from the government is for euthanasia with the agreement of the owner. However, 110 farm families still don’t agree. At this moment, 757 head have been captured, 710 euthanized, and over 360 run wild.

■Questions and answers with Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. Nakano.

Q1: At the budget committee meeting on March 5th, you said that rather than euthanasia, you would examine the possibility of using "rent-a-cow" cattle, for practical purposes such as weeding, or for research, etc. How about it now? What is the status of these deliberations?

A: Some members of the assembly would prefer to keep them alive for scientific research. We have supported public research facilities like universities when they offered research plans, including funding, and interfacing with residents. We support considering and enabling, together with Fukushima prefecture, research facility requests for pasturage to be used in research scenarios, preferably on a large scale, but regardless of size.

■Questions and answers with vice minister.

I want to ask the Ministry of the Environment about this issue from the perspective of animal welfare. Already the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is starting research activity despite limited, and limiting conditions. From now on, they will share deliberations on research plans, and will carry them out as much as possible. People from around the nation, with innumerable opinions, are gathered at the Ministry of the Environment.

Q2: How do you conceive the value of “Farm Sanctuary”? In Article 1 of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals, it says “The purpose of this act is to engender a spirit of support for animal welfare among citizens, and contribute to the development of respect for life, and sentiments of amity and peace. This will be done by providing for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the proper handling of animals, and other matters concerning animal welfare, as well as by preventing animals from causing infringement on the life, body, or property of humans, by providing for matters concerning the management of animals.” If we follow this article, we must commend this thought. In Article 44, it says “The term "protected animal" as used in the preceding three paragraphs shall be the animals listed here: (i) Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, domestic rabbits, chickens, domestic pigeons, and domestic ducks (ii) Animals in the possession of persons where such animals are categorized as mammals, birds or reptiles, other than those listed in the preceding item”. In Western countries, there are animal shelters for afflicted animals, “Farm Sanctuaries”, to keep them throughout their lives.

A: (Fuku daijin) I hadn't known about this. I was amazed to find they are managed by private relief organizations, which take lifelong care of the animals. It's the first time we have ever had to make an off-limits area. However, I respect such private parties, which make up for the administration. I want to continue gathering information.

Q3: In Article 3 of Act on Welfare and Management of Animals, it says “The national government and local governments shall, in accordance with the purpose of the previous article, endeavor to promote education, and raise awareness with regard to the welfare and proper care of animals, in coordination with each other through educational activities, publicity activities and other similar activities at such places as schools, communities and homes.” The Basic Guidelines state that the public's understanding of animal welfare issues cannot be said to be sufficient. Particularly in the nurturing of children, contact with animals, and experience with caring for them, can contribute to spiritual and emotional growth. "Last year on May 25th, zoologists and biologists at the Veterinary Medical Association submitted a letter of request for the founding of a national research facility to house and protect the afflicted animals as valuable biological resources. On July 8th, former Prime Minister Kan's answer to a similar question by me was that it is a very significant proposition, from an academic perspective, as well as the perspective of animal welfare, to research the effect of radioactivity on animals. On March 5th at budget meeting, Vice Minister Yokomitsu said that it is wonderful offer. Let's consider funding the “Afflicted Animal Rescue Center” as a temporary farm animal shelter. Already private citizens manage shelters at 4 places on various scales, from 20 to 300 of cattle, sheep and goats. How about the government actively promoting such private places for animal care, as national bases for animal welfare?

A: The lives of the animals would be the same. However, the farming and farm animal would belong to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Q4: It is necessary to conduct research from the perspective of animal welfare. We have to show our hearts as Japanese people. How about arranging a meeting with local governments, scholars and breeders on how to protect the cattle in the off-limits area?

A: Farm animals are outside of our jurisdiction. Of course we want to support disaster-afflicted pets, but we have to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Q5: Yes, these are farm animals, and yet they have become wild animals. This is rare case of “half-wild, or semi-wild cattle”? Professor Sato, of Tohoku University, said that while it's important to analyze the normal behavior of farm animals, from an animal welfare perspective, it will be difficult to analyze the behavior of these animals when if they're gathered under such conditions. He pointed out that there is value in these animals, (similar cattle are found in Chillingham park, UK and Kuchinoshimaushi, in Tokara Island, Kagoshima, Japan.) He suggests the search for pasturage, and establishment of a Farm Animal Sanctuary, around the nuclear plant area. For example, Article 22 of the Nature Conservation Act says that the Minister for the Environment can designate a “wildlife conservation area”, which is necessary to preserve the natural environment through conditions in accordance with social and natural situations. How about designating a farm animal sanctuary as a wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection and Hunting Law, or a nature conservation area under the Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora?

A: The purpose of a nature conservation area and wildlife sanctuary is to protect the natural landscape and rare wild animals. It would be difficult at this point to designate wild farm animals as rare wild animals.

Q6: Mr. and Mrs.Unuma, who are the owners of “Fuku-chan”* have been working on a fresh start as vegetable farmers in Saitama prefecture. They don’t want to send an agreement for euthanasia. They said “We want to go to see the cattle. How can humans be so selfish. The cattle are surviving so we can too. We want to show Fuku that we can also thrive despite the hardship.” Saving the animal is not just for the animal's welfare. It also saves the owner, who has a strong relationship with the animal. If these relationships are discouraged, the results won't be a very compassionate restoration. How about working in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in close harmony with the hearts of the afflicted, and support a true restoration.

*Fuku-chan is a calf found near the Fukushima nuclear power plants in February 2012, by a worker from the power plant. Fuku-chan’s mother had already been killed by a traffic accident. Fuku-chan was sitting close to his mother and didn’t want to be away from her. Mr. and Mrs. Unuma, who are the owners of these cattle, were thankful that they were able to the rescue of Fuku-chan. Unuma farm is the closest farm to the nuclear power plant. Later on, the veterinarian found that Fuku-chan had a spinal injury. He passed away on March 16th, in the farm sanctuary in Namie, “Kibou no Bokujyou Namie Ranch”.

Fukuchan and Mrs.Unuma

A: Listening to the dialogue, certainly the field of study is different, but interesting ideas are being expressed. To face this experience, such as we have never before had, I want to know the opinions of animal welfare workers, concerning how we should respond to the situation of animals released from the cattle shed and abandoned. Originally, euthanasia was started basically to relieve the dying animal of pain. Currently, the veterinarian has to endeavor to capture wild cattle, and winds up killing some fine, healthy cattle. The veterinarians deplore killing animals they are supposed to save. Farmers who don't agree with this euthanasia, and who are tired of conflict with neighbors, have said “We don’t want to kill the cattle but we are exhausted. We want to be released from these cattle.”

The owner of M ranch said, with determination, “These cattle are a testimony of the nuclear power plant accident. They are the light of hope amid despair. With the pride of cattle ranchers, and especially for the people who had to leave the cattle, I will spend the rest of my life on this.” April 22nd, a year since the off-limits area was established, the situation has changed. The politicians and the administrators must indicate a third way, allowing the animals live by our hand, and have the compassionate will to correct a situation which brings happiness to no one, and to rectify this terrible choice between death by starvation or euthanasia. This question is at the heart of all Japanese.

テーマ : 保護活動
ジャンル : ペット





About Us

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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