Great Eastern Japan Earthquake & Tsunami/Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident
One month has passed since the March 11 earthquake that hit the northeastern part of Japan and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Japanese government has announced that it would make the area currently set as a voluntarily evacuation zone into a no-entry zone. The government also said it has a plan to expand the evacuation zone beyond the present 20km radius. We would like to urge the government to consider the points in the petition below in order to help and rescue the livestock in the disaster areas.
Released from the cowshed, cows are eating grass near a rice farm.
The mother cow died of starvation. The calf is eating hay.
Petition Requesting that Adequate Care be Provided for Livestock in the Vicinity of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
April 14, 2011
Mr. Michihiko Kano,
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
The plan for animal rescue in disasters includes a section concerning animal management and hygiene control as wells as on ways of providing feed in times of disaster. Based on this plan, we would like to ask the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to take immediate action to help and protect livestock.
There are 870 dairy cattle, 2.500 beef cattle, 30.000 pigs, and 630,000 chickens within a 20km radius of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Within a 30km radius, there are 1,900,000 chickens, 12,000 beef cattle (mainly for breeding use), and 39.000 pigs. (University of Miyazaki homepage)
The evacuees did not know how long the evacuation would last, so in many cases families have left cattle and other livestock behind. The evacuation has been prolonged and some evacuees go home periodically to feed and take care of their livestock. On the other hand, some farmers decided to free their livestock because they thought they might not be able to come back. The released cows are wandering around in the affected areas and some of them have been seen dead. Other cows that are chained in cowsheds have no water or food, so they are slowly dying of starvation.
The areas that are now a voluntarily evacuation zone will soon be a mandatory evacuation/exclusion zone. The decayed carcasses of cows or other livestock will soon become a major public hygiene problem. This will also negatively affect wild animals and biodiversity.
There are many Wagyu farmers in the planned evacuation area, which lies within a 30 km radius of the plant, and how to help the Wagyu cattle in the area is now under consideration. In any case, there is an urgent need to establish measures to address the above-mentioned issues quickly. We would like to ask the relevant government bodies to take immediate action to resolve these issues.
1. Examining and ascertaining the current situation
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries can locate the cattle, horse, pig and chicken farms from the local government lists of farmers. It is possible to identify the locations of the farms and to immediately go and check on the current situation of the livestock.
2. Feeding and giving water
Cattle that are kept in cowsheds and left in the disaster areas are still alive but are slowly dying of starvation. We would like to ask the Self-Defense Forces to provide them with water and food urgently and take the measures listed from 3 to 6, below, if possible.
3. Evacuation of livestock
Please find public farms or free-range farms that can temporarily accept the evacuated livestock. We would like to ask the authorities to arrange for the rescue of abandoned livestock animals that are still alive but are dying.
4. Transfer of livestock ownership
If there are any farmers or corporations who will no longer continue to work livestock farms in the disaster area, please work with NGOs, local government offices and local agriculture groups to set up a brokerage operation to appeal to these farmers or corporations to get their livestock adopted.
5. Performing Euthanasia
If individual cattle are moribund or have been exposed to high levels of radiation, and their owners are unable to keep them, please take appropriate lawful measures including euthanasia performed by a designated veterinarian.
6. Burial of cattle
The carcasses of dead livestock need to be buried quickly or they will cause the spread of infectious diseases, with a negative impact on wild animals and biodiversity. In order to prevent such a problem arising, please work with the Self-Defense Forces to find appropriate locations for livestock carcass burial.
7. Hire temporary special staff
To implement the measures and ideas mentioned above requires people who have special knowledge and skills. We would like to ask local governments in the affected areas to hire temporary special skilled staff and send them to the areas where they are urgently needed.
Non Profit Organizaition: ALIVE: All Life In a Viable Environment (Chikyu Seibutsu Kaigi)
Kanagawa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Devastated Animal Protection Investigation Team
Number of deaths of cattle/livestock recorded in Miyagi Prefecture (dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs, laying chickens and broilers): 1,186,926 (Miyagi Prefecture excluding Taga City, Chihigahama City and Onagawa City). The causes of the death were mainly drowning and starvation. (Miyagi Prefecture homepages, April 14, 2011)