Animal Rescuers Brave the Fukushima Danger Zone

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In increasing numbers, Isabella Gallaon-Aoki and other animal advocates have been quietly slipping into and out of the 20-km red zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant to rescue pets and feed animals deserted in the mass evacuation.

They wear basic protective gear, well aware of the risks they face in the radiation ridden neighborhoods they canvas in search of stranded pets and livestock. They arrive with lists of addresses and animal descriptions given to them by heartbroken pet owners forced to flee after the meltdown. They are angels working in the midst of hell, and their efforts are nothing short of heroic.

“I understand the nuclear danger and everything, but they’re just being left to starve to death, basically,” said Gallaon-Aoki with Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support.

She and others like her have been moved to act on behalf of the stranded pets after learning that the Japanese government made no provisions for saving animals left behind when their owners were forced to evacuate. Gallaon-Aoki said it was unforgivable that the government would allow animals to be left to slowly die of starvation or radiation exposure.

“I understand they have a huge problem as far as people are concerned. They are dealing with a lot,” she said. “But, I mean, there are people and groups who would be willing to help, and surely they could kind of set some sort of well-coordinated effort.”

CNN reporter Kyung Lah takes gives us a closer at the deserted danger zone, the animals left behind to fend for themselves, and the heroes who are literally putting their lives on the line to save them.

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55 thoughts on “Animal Rescuers Brave the Fukushima Danger Zone”

    • If you know anything about what is happening with the beagle, please share. I am losing sleep over this poor little dog and I can’t believe the reporter didn’t at least free him from the rope. I have a beagle and it is breaking my heart. Please post any news.

  1. I am so utterly horrified at the abandonment of animals AND people by the Japanese government that I cannot bear to read these stories any longer. I can give a warning to livestock owners on the west coast that we are now seeing in Oregon Japanese arriving in literally droves to buy up every bit of the livestock feed that they can get their hands on and they are heading to points further east attempting this as well. I would never begrudge any hungry animal any food but we in the northwest went through a similar thing a number of years ago and it was a terrible battle to obtain enough food for our own animals, the Japanese were even at that time paying gigantic premiums for all livestock feeds and taking even what was already paid for by PNW residents and the farmers simply refunding money when the hay and grain and alfalfa got shipped overseas. This is happening again and while I understand that Japan’s already limited ag areas are completely destroyed and likely unable to be revitalized, what are WE to do about OUR animals when we count on being able to buy food for them – not all of us have land to raise our own! If you doubt this and I realize it sounds alarmist go visit some of the horse rescue blogs and equestrian forums and everyone is telling the same story, they go to buy some hay and everyone is “sold out” or the price has quintupled as there is so little left – to a far greater extent than even usual given the last of the season before this year’s harvest happens. PLUS on the human side – there was a story on an international news site, some of the Japanese towns that had “evacuate or stay indoors in a sealed house” – those that stayed in those homes are by these news reports dying of dehydration and starvation because the Japanese government after issuing these edicts simply did nothing more for the people – no water, no food, nowhere to buy anything, only a demand by the government to stay in a sealed house and do not go outside. And then – nothing. I used to have such tremendous respect for Japan – now with the actions of their government I have lost all of that.

    • Miss Jan, I know you’re worried about access to food for your own livestock and I too have found myself paying the highest hay price I have ever seen in my lifetime. But, we have to find a way to help them and still provide for our own animals.

      There has to be a way! We can not become heartless. They are doing what any good owner would do to provide food for their animals. Let us be part of the solution and not the problem. I don’t know yet how we can help but we can’t lose our humanity in the process. Local and state governments here must take responsibility for protecting their livestock owners from food shortages and keep residents informed. Growers should be reported for taking advantage of everyone just to turn a profit. I don’t know what the laws states but in times of emergency I don’t think they can do this and not get heavily fined.

      Don’t lose faith, there has to be some way to protect ourselves and still help others.

      • In a rainbow and butterflies world you would be correct. However, having had animals for six decades and seeing the decline in ethics, morality and rise of “end justifies the means” I can tell you that the Japanese who are showing up in the Pacific NW are MIDDLEMEN and they are buying for the wealthiest of the wealthy race horse operations in Japan – those operations which come to the race yearling sales here and drop a cool million on a single race prospect while many of the small farmers over there STILL cannot afford to buy a single bale of hay. Sure we HAVE TO do something – but what? I ask you, but what? Our own farmers on this side of the Pacific are increasingly changing crops every six months to try to capitalize on what the commodities brokers, to line their own pockets, “decree” will be the next hot commodity. Visit the hay boards nationally and in the states and look at the concerns of the small and mid-size farm livestock feed producers and you will realize that big agribusiness is running the show and it is definitely NOT for the benefit of anything but their own bankbooks. These are not poor Japanese farmers coming to our shores to beg for food for their few horses, cows, etc. – these are agribrokers who would not know a decent bale from crap and whose sole and only interest is in making sure their wealthier clients are provided for. Meanwhile according to news reports abroad (stuff we do not get here because “we have to be protected” or such nonsense) small farmers’ animals in Japan are starving and dying.


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