Update: There is, of course, more to this story. Someone from an animal rescue org. tweeted me via Twitter and I have interviewed her and will post shortly. It’s not as ‘feel good’ as it sounds as there are many restrictions put in place by the government. Follow up story to come.
Via The Telegraph Fukushima Pets to be Rescued from No-go Zone (December 6, 2011):
The government has granted permission to animal welfare groups enabling them to enter the no-go zone in order to rescue abandoned cats, dogs and other pets who are still alive.
Countless residents were forced to leave pets behind as they fled their homes during emergency evacuations following the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
As a result, many animals are believed to have starved to death, although animal welfare groups believe that several hundred cats and dogs remain alive and are running wild across the nuclear exclusion zone.
The Environment Ministry has now given permission to the groups to rescue surviving pets, although they will only be able to pick up animals whose owners have requested it and must prove they will be housed in secure shelters.
Also in The Telegraph, from yesterday, is an article, “Wild Monkeys to measure radiation levels in Fukushima.” At first, I thought they were placing the monkeys there but it seems that “as many as 14 groups of monkeys are believed to reside in the mountains forests to the west of Minamisoma city.” Apparently, to “measure” the radiation, it will “involve monkeys being fitted with collars containing radiation meters and GPS transmitters.” (Involve, eh? Funny choice of words.) These collars will then detach “remotely.” No specific details in the piece as to how the monkeys will be rounded up initially. Not sure what to make of that exactly – it’s a good thing that the radiation is being measured in some way but a bit skeptical / concerned when animals are used in these ways. Particularly in light of the government’s severe lack of interest of the other animals left behind there.
Animal groups have been lobbying the government for months to allow them to rescue people’s animal companions who were left behind. Imagine if your animal, part of your family, was left behind and you could not go back to get him or her – to even be certain if he was alive – until 9 months later? This attitude by our governments (similar to what transpired around Hurricane Katrina) has got to change.
Some background reading –
Amazing blog post of a volunteer who helped animal rescue groups look after animals in Fukushima back in April here at One Day in Fukishima via Against the Stream – a Contrarian’s Blog.
Via International Best Friends Org.: Japan: Setting out to Save Animals. (This was posted back in March right after the area was evacuated.)
I didn’t really intend this to be Part II but the news is timely!
See Part I at B-girl Guide: Japan, Fukushima, The Rest of Us – Afterwards, Now
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