On April 22 the Japanese government closed off a 20-km zone surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant and created a new crisis for the estimated 5,000 to 10,000 cats, dogs and farm animals left behind after the disaster.
Before the complete shutdown of the area, pet owners were regularly going into the No-Go Zone for short periods of time to feed and care for the animals they were forced to abandon when they were moved to evacuation centers.
Japan Animal Earthquake Rescue and Support (JEARS) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have been “working every angle” to feed and rescue the animals in the area and pressure the Japanese government to allow access to the exclusion zone.
JEARS reported the guardians of the animals are heartbroken over this development. The group said this on their website:
“The pets in the 20 kilometer zone are loved and wanted by their guardians. They should not be let to starve to death or moved to animal control facilities. JEARS has the facilities to shelter and care for these animals.”
Today IFAW presented sectors of the Japanese government with a comprehensive plan to safely monitor, evacuate and treat animals contaminated by radiation.
The committee behind the plan consisted of members from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS Animal Care and Wildlife Services, United States Army Veterinary Corps, veterinary and toxicology experts from the U.S. and Japan, academicians and IFAW.
The Japanese Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries also participated.
“The Committee strongly feels that animal rescue work should continue inside the 20km zone,” said Dr. Dick Green, IFAW Disaster Manager. “Recommendations have been provided to ensure human and animal safety and the Committee feels that as long as these safety protocols are followed, well-trained and equipped rescue teams should be allowed to continue to remove animals from the restricted zone.”
Pleas to make the government open the zone and save the animals are coming from all parts of Japan. Concerned citizens held a protest in Tokyo on May 8.
Some groups are disregarding threats of fines for entering the No-Go Zone and are reaching out to the cats, dogs and farm animals that have not been regularly fed for two weeks.
A video filmed by JEARS and U.S. rescue group Kinship Circle shows the current conditions of the animals.
TAKE ACTION: PLEASE SIGN THE FOLLOWING PETITIONS THAT ASK THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO OPEN THE AREA.