Hachiko Coalition: Animal Rescuers Defy Orders, Enter TEPCO Radiation Exclusion Zone to Rescue Starving Pets

Hachiko Coalition: Animal Rescuers Defy Orders, Enter TEPCO Radiation Exclusion Zone to Rescue Starving Pets

The sign reads: “There are dogs and cats near here, please someone feed them.”

(PRWEB) May 04, 2011

The Hachiko Coalition calls attention to the plight of pets left inside the evacuation zone in Japan.

On April 21, the Japanese government decided to begin enforcing a “no-go” policy within the 20km radiation evacuation zone inside Fukushima Prefecture [1]. This decision prevents access inside this zone by private Animal Search and Rescue (SAR) teams who were previously evacuating domesticated animals inside the zone.

Estimates provided by the Fukushima Prefecture government place the number of registered dogs within the nine municipalities under evacuation orders at more than 5800 [2]. This figure does not include the many cats or unregistered dogs. Other local animal welfare groups have placed this estimate closer to 10,000 dogs. Many of these animals were left at home when the evacuation took place.

In a video dated April 28th created by Global Animal Magazine, footage clearly shows the situation is deteriorating [3]. Signs have been posted on the edge of towns that read: “There are dogs and cats near here, please someone feed them.”

In a stunning example of selfless action, yet another video shows a family who re-entered the zone attempting to rescue and feed animals while also recovering the dead [4]. Mr. Hosti, who obtained the video footage, reported the radiation levels in that location were 70-90μSv/h.

In a message posted to Facebook, Hosti also stated: “The government deserted the animals. Animal[s] dies if there is no food. We violated the law, invaded, and helped the dog[s]. However, a lot of animals are left. These are animals sacrificed in [sic] the Fukushima nuclear power plant [5].”

These pleas for help are surreal, however evacuation of the domesticated animals was being conducted by trained Animal Search and Rescue (A-SAR) teams and can continue safely if the government simply allows it. Furthermore, On April 27, 11 veterinarians entered the exclusion zone and found the radiation levels of the dogs and other animals was not high enough to require decontamination or quarantine [6]. However, the levels of radiation will increase as the animals are continuously exposed, therefore they must be evacuated immediately.

Pet owners have entered the evacuation zone, slipping past police officers and others to remove their pets from their homes in the 20-kilometer zone, prefectural government officials said [7].

The Hachiko Coalition requests that the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) act now to evacuate these animals. Furthermore, TEPCO should also immediately release disaster response funding from their insurance pools to the impacted prefectures for the use of animal evacuation.

Today, The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has convened a conference of international radiation experts and other representatives including: Japanese Ministry of Environment, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): APHIS Animal Care and Wildlife Services, United States Army Veterinary Corps, veterinary and toxicology experts, academics, and IFAW [8].

While this conference may result in a new measures being taken to evacuate the animals, the Japanese government must allow these measures to be implemented. If not, the only recourse may be filing a positive injunction in order to regain access inside the exclusion zone.

The Hachiko Coalition provides evacuation support during disasters and Coalition members are concerned with the welfare of these animals. The Hachiko Coalition is calling for the organized, and immediate evacuation of all uncontaminated domestic animals and livestock inside the exclusion zone.

Tens of thousands of concerned people have signed on to multiple petitions requesting evacuation on the Internet [9]. One group even claims to be organizing a vigil for those animals who have lost their lives and those still living but at risk of dying on May 8th, Jingu Dori Park, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 6-21, Tokyo [10].

While this triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, radiation) may be unprecedented that does not mean it is unmanageable. Japan has vast resources and technical know-how, it simply needs to exercise the resolve and solve this problem and demand emergency evacuation funding from TEPCO.

The Hachiko Coalition believes the current “starve them out” plan to deal with these animals is unacceptable from company who is capable of using nuclear energy and is reprehensible to the many people witnessing the events as they unfold.

To follow the most recent developments of this ongoing emergency, please visit the website:


Persons wishing to sign a petition requesting rescue of these animals should see:


To voice your concerns to the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet, please use this form:


NOTE: For footnotes and references, please see the full press release:



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