There are many NPOs busy taking care of rescued pets as always, and there are not enough volunteers.
The situation of owners living in shelters away from pets haven’t changed.
Health of many pets that are kept in cars because they are not allowed inside shelters is getting more worrisome as temperature is raising; summer is just a month away (thus, NPOs are taking them in so they can’t see their pets everyday.)
Many families are looking for new homes where they can keep their rescued pets but the supply of such housings is extremely low.
Here is a summary of recent development with regard to pets and farm animals.
1. So far, evacuees from two villages within the Fukushima no-entry zone have gone home to collect some valuables including their pets (though they were brought out of the area separately by the government). Here is the details, according to Nikkei Sports Newspaper dated May 16.
May 10, Kawauchi mura Village: 11 dogs and 6 cats
May 12, Katsurao mura Village: 1 cat
As you can see, the number seems to be too low. Were the pets dead when they returned? Were they gone/missing? Have they been already rescued by NPOs in the meantime? Or did they feel awkward to ask the government to do things for them? (Note: I came across some articles in which some evacuees felt bad of asking government to help their pets)
Returning to their homes temporarily to eight other villages will take place in no time, according to the Ministry of Environment. According to one member of House of Representative, an official questionnaire asking evacuees if they have pets they want the government to bring out of the zone, what kind of pets and how may, etc., was made and will be distributed when they are returning home.
2. Farm animals
After it was announced that all livestock that were left within the 20km zone from the damaged nuclear power plant to be euthanized, some politicians are working very hard to change this decision by coming up with ideas such as creating a ‘sanctuary farm’ for those livestock that are still alive, either within the area or outside the area. Although they have been left in the radioactive zone, screening tests show not-at-all threatening amount of radiation on these farm animals and many vets and publics do not see why they have to be killed.
Some members of House of Representative such as Koriki Jojima (http://www.jojima.net/) and Tsutomu Takamura (http://www.takamura-tsutomu.com/) asked in today’s budget meeting if they could consider other way of handling the situation; instead of euthanizing them, keeping them alive by establishing a sanctuary farm.
In reponse to his questions, the Ministry of Agriculter answered that this idea is indeed possible if; 1) there is value to keep them for scientific purposes, 2) screening and cleaning of the radiation is done accordingly, 3) they are carefully watched by university-related institutions which will accept them (to keep), and 4) their meat is not going to be consumed. Mr. Jojima also pointed out that it’s a questioning matter why the government, both national and local, do not have clear guidance on how to handle pets and farm animals in emergency situation like this incident in a timely manner, which resulted in the huge delay in taking care of this matter.
He also pointed out that ‘for the sake of trust in Japan from overseas, Japan has to act accordingly to the guidance set by OIE (World Organization of Animal Welfare) for handling pets and farm animals.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Kan Prime Minister, whose email inbox is probably being overloaded with emails asking not to kill them from both inside and outside Japan, asked Mr. Jojima and Mr. Takamura to come up with a detailed plan for the ‘Sanctuary Farm’, while government officials are preparing to start culling the farm animals.
Time is ticking.