Japan’s other nuke disaster victims

Cows bone thin lying down in a barn within the evacuation zone

TOKYO (majirox news) – The Japanese government is telling nuke evacuees not to worry; they will be compensated by the government and Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), plant owner and operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said they would financially compensate livestock farmers living within a 20 km radius of the Dai-ichi plant in Fukushima prefecture. The area was evacuated more than a month ago when the plant started releasing radioactive material after Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The farmers said compensation would not bring back their way of life.

Sadatoshi Sato and his wife, nuke evacuees living at a shelter in Saitama prefecture, are learning to grow vegetables.

“This will be our new job,” he said. “It’s a new experience for us. While I like to touch soil, I still want to go back to Futabamachi City and raise cattle again.”

Many of the 3,385 cattle, 31,486 pigs and 633,000 chickens within the evacuation zone have reportedly already died. There were about 305 farmers raising livestock, according to MAFF. The numbers could be even higher since Japan extended the evacuation zone beyond 30 km on April 11.

Cows shown on Japanese TV were bone thin and lying down in a barn because they no longer had the strength to get up. The farmers want the ones that are still alive to be put down instead of letting them die from starvation. But according to Yomiuri Shimbun, administrative officials have said they cannot deal with the matter until radioactivity leakage from the Dai-ichi plant is brought under control.

One dairy farmer who lived within the 20-km radius was able to visit his cowshed early this month, only to find some cows dead and starving. “Some cows came up to me and mooed forlornly, but I had no means of saving their lives,” he told Yomiuri Shimbun.

Unuma, who has 50 cows about 3 km from Fukushima Dai-ichi, said she begged Japan’s Self Defense Forces “to let my cows flee if you can.”

Many farmers said they had no choice but to flee the evacuation area immediately and abandon their animals. According to Christine Martine, a local veterinarian in Chiba prefecture, the sad thing is that the livestock farmers will suffer unbearable guilt and trauma for leaving their livestock.

“These animals also included precious wagyu (top quality beef) bloodstock rescued from the foot and mouth disease epidemic in 2010 in Miyazaki prefecture,” she told Majirox News. Martine added that the livestock could be rescued in the same way. “It is possible to evacuate the livestock, presently neglected by the government to the evacuation borders, wash and cleanse them, and then immediately move them to a safe area,” she said.

Martine, who is treating a few animals traumatized by the crisis at her hospital, said, “They suffer just as much as humans and need a lot of love to help recovery.”

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2 Responses to Japan’s other nuke disaster victims

  1. Casper on 04/25/2011 at 12:38 pm

    These “administrative officials” who say that they cannot deal with this until after they get the radioactivity leakage under control. They are not “TEPCO,” it’s not their job to get it under control – their job is to take care of its citizens and their well-being.

    If I were the “admistrative officials,” I would be worried about their jobs – after these farmers return to see all their dead livestock (that died obviously from starvation) and the guilt that comes with leaving them all behind, there is a strong possibility that some farmers may commit suicide due to the guilt. Especially if they are not compensated soon after this ordeal and/or are unable to return to their homes and their “way of life.”

    And regarding TEPCO, it is their responsibility to get the livestock out of the contaminated area. It is sad that healthy livestock have to starve to death due to the insensitivity of some “administrative officials” and TEPCO.

    I am sure that there are farmers who would help other farmers in times of need. Did they even ask any of the farmers in “safe” zones for help? I am not talking about one farmer asking another, but the Japanese Government asking them to use some of their land to temporarily “house” the livestock that were in the contaminated area (of course after they have been individually checked for radiation, washed off, etc.)? I sincerely doubt it.

    Seems like since the earthquake, there is a quiet “snowball effect” happening here in Japan (deadly tsunamis, liquefaction, Fukushima nuclear reactors situation, evacuation zone expanding, rolling blackouts, strong aftershocks, etc.). I do not want to guess as to “what is next?”

    And, I keep hearing the Japanese Government saying, “Don’t worry we, the Japanese Government and TEPCO will pay/compensate the evacuees for this.” I would like to see each member of the government and TEPCO put their money where their mouth is and pay a percentage of their annual salaries to the evacuees. Doesn’t that sound fair? After all, we as “taxpayers” know that we will be putting our “fair share” in when they raise our taxes and charge us even more for electricity.

  2. Wolfie on 04/26/2011 at 1:03 am

    This is disturbing. The quake not only rattled the ground but will be greatly affecting the lives of survivors for years.

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