Fukusima Daiichi, Japan – It’s almost a year (March 11/2011) since the terrible Tsunami/nuclear tragedy at Fukushima,  Japan and animals are still running scared and uncared for. It’s hard to believe but, many animals are still running wild, and very few have been rescued.

An excellent report this week on CNN (Video,) sheds light on the neglect of these animals, from domestic pets, to farm animals and everything in between.
The exclusion zone is an area of 20km surrounding the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and some 70,000 residents were removed by the government in March 2011.
Many were not allowed to take their domestic pets or farm animals and unable to return because of the high levels of radiation. The United Kennel Club of Japan (UKC) received authorization from the government to go into the exclusion area where the volunteers attempted to find and rescue as many domestic pets as possible. Many had already died from disease, neglect, starvation, but around 300 were captured and over 80% have been returned to their owners or remain in UKC shelters. The biggest problem with the residents of about 70,000 is that many of them are still homeless themselves, and are not allowed to care for their pets.
Sheep taking it easyMany have wondered if the radiation affects animals the same as humans and Dr. Coote from The Toronto Humane Society has confirmed it does, “I guess it depends which animals you are referring to, so if we talk about dogs, cats, horses, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep those are all mammals, so the way that animals are affected by radiation will be quite similar to humans, they often worry about the cumulative radiation affect so that if you are exposed to certain levels of radiation over time they’re worried that there would be a cumulative affect of radiation that can cause dangerous levels.”
She went on to say, “In animals they don’t really have a prolonged exposure to radiation, because they have such a short lifespan relative to humans, If they are farming dairy, goats or chickens, it’s the issue with, one, the actual exposure to radiation the way we get exposed in the atmosphere so there’s that exposure and then there’s the exposure they get from the vegetation that they are eating. And it’s also in the water, the runoff and the rain.”
“Birds and insects will be affected as well and they can spread the radiation as they fly miles from the danger zone but they have a very low life-span and then it becomes a problem for the food chain as the bird eats the contaminated insect or the bird eats a contaminated fish that’s a concern and then flies miles away and then the bird gets eaten by another predator and the cycle continues”

Many have already died from the radiation exposure and disease, and it’s unknown at this time when anyone else will be allowed into the exclusion area.

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Daniel … Toronto, Canada
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