With the level of help needed, the Japanese government has been blamed that they are too slow to react and provide help in an efficient manner to those that are needed. Of course that delays the help to those that are most vulnerable - pets and other animals.
Originally a 20 kilometer radius around the nuclear plant was designated as an evacuation area. At first, the residents in this area were told to "Evacuate immediately, but you will be able to come back here within a day or two", so they left everything including their pets (they were told pets were not allowed in the shelters). However, after a while they were told by their government that their "home town" has became officially off-limits and they have not been allowed to go back to their homes to get their belongings, pets or other animals.
A month later the earthquake/tsunami, inside of the nuclear evacuation area in Fukushima is in an extremely catastrophic situation for animals left behind including domestic animals (dogs, cats and other small animals) and farm animals (cows, pigs and birds). It has been reported that there are 14,000 cows, 44,000 pigs and 1,890,000 chickens left with no food or water within the 20 kilometer radius around the nuclear plant. (These numbers could be more.) Many of them are already starved to death because Japanese government refused to help even though many have been pleading.
Among the animals who were left in this area, who were able to escape their leash, roamed around the area looking for their owners and food/water. Some cannot even walk anymore so they just sit in front of their owners’ homes waiting for their return. Many cows and their calves in the barns are dead from starvation, cats who are stuck inside of the house are so starved they eat each other. These scenes are literally hell on earth.
Following is a video showing you the area. (I apologize in advance, some of the images are hard to watch.)
Many animal rescue groups were forced to decided themselves to go into the evacuated area and rescue some of the animals, but there are way too many. These organization need government help to rescue animals in the evacuation area including proper protection cloths, cars and equipment which currently they get none. They were forced act upon with their own risk and as a government, that is irresponsible, not to mention inhumane to animals and their people.
Those animal rescue volunteers are going out to rescue or feed the animals in the evacuation area with no radiation protection provided by government. Everyday, they go out to these dangerous zones and continue looking for animals they can help.
In Japan, animals are viewed as "one's belongings" under the law and they are not viewed as "life". This comes from an old Japanese custom. Hence, there is no modern widely accepted animal protection law like in Western culture, it is creating a struggle for animals and rescuers in Japan especially in a situation like this.
Because you are not allowed to remove animals from their property without their owner’s explicit permission, animal rescue groups leave food and water for these animals wherever they can, but it is clear that for both people and animals, it is clearly passed their physical and mental capability to continue like this.
I understand that human life comes first, but in the evacuation camp, many people have lost everything--family, friends and home. Their only hope is to find and reunite with their missing pets. Some cannot sleep or eat because they feel so guilty about leaving their pets behind. Many people fell ill because of this stress.
There may be people who don't care about pets or animals, but there are people that are healed by our animal friends.
From the sanitary stand point, it is also important to point out that it is unsanitary to keep all the dead animals left in that area. Currently within those 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant, reported 14,000 cows, 44,000 pigs and 1,890,000 chickens and many dogs & cats are left there to die from starvation, many of them already dead. With that large number of dead animal left in the area, we cannot eliminate the possibility of zoonotic diseases spreading and the longer they wait the more chance of that with higher need of man power and cost to clean up the affected area.
If the Japanese government decided to provide support in those areas, it would only take a couple of days. If only our government supported them, those animal organizations would not have to risk their lives to stay long periods of time in such a dangerous area to do what they are doing.
Saving animals, saves people’s lives.
Japanese people love their pets, but they really need their government NOW to help their much loved animals.
UPDATE: On 4/20, Asahi.com has reported that Japanese government designated this area as "Caution Zone" which has legal power to restrict people from entering the area. They are allowing residents to go back to their homes and gather their belongings before such "Caution Zone" start to take effects. We would like to make sure that the Animal Rescue Groups and volunteers will also be allow to enter the area with the aid from the government (including proper protection gears from radiation and equipment) and rescue as many animals before its official close up.
I beg you to please encourage Japanese government to do the right thing.
Thank you very much for reading this.