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IFAW Convenes Nuclear Radiation Experts for Animal Rescue Summit in Japan

YARMOUTH PORT, Mass. (PRNewswire) — The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is organizing a gathering of radiation and animal rescue experts from the U.S. and Japan to discuss the current crisis and develop steps to provide aid to animals inside the evacuation zone.

The team of experts will meet from May 2 -3 at the International House of Japan in Tokyo.

Currently, there is limited information available for decontamination and/or treatment of animals affected by radiation, nor are there any standards established for determining when an animal has been exposed to an unsafe level of radiation. Little is known about the survivability of wildlife and pets — or the viability of farm animals — exposed to radiation.

The goal of the IFAW-led summit is to develop response procedures and protocols to monitor, evacuate, and treat animals contaminated by radiation. The subject matter experts will cover issues such as radiation exposure, animal physiology, animal behavior, animal rescue and evacuation techniques, animal decontamination, animal sheltering and husbandry, wildlife habitat and rehabilitation, and human responder safety.

The committee includes representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): APHIS Animal Care and Wildlife Services, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, veterinary and toxicology experts, academicians, and IFAW.

“We have been interviewing people from the evacuated towns and we’ve seen video evidence of a large number of animals, including livestock, horses, and companion animals that have been left behind,” said Dr. Dick Green, IFAW disaster manager. “We can’t turn a blind eye to Japan’s abandoned animals that have not received adequate food or water for more than a month and continue to receive dangerous levels of radiation.”

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 caused serious damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in its inability to keep the nuclear reactors cool. After radiation was detected outside of the plant, the government of Japan declared a mandatory evacuation of residents within a 20km radius of the plant and residents within 30km radius have been strongly encouraged to evacuate.

Research in the U.S. following a disaster has shown that as many as 30 percent of evacuees will attempt to re-enter a disaster zone to rescue their pet.

“By removing those animals that can be safely decontaminated from the evacuation zone and reuniting them with their families, there will be a significant reduction in the number of people attempting to re-enter the danger zone — putting their own lives at risk,” added Green.

While the recommendations are developed, an immediate animal relief plan has been recommended to Japanese authorities that includes setting up feeding stations in the 20-30 kilometer zones, providing decontamination training to veterinary teams, positioning transport equipment in strategic staging areas and readying animal shelters for the influx of evacuated animals.

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org or follow IFAW on Facebook and Twitter.

3 Comments

  • Maria
    May 3, 2011 | Permalink |

    Since its such an enourmous huge group of people and animal rescue organizations asking for prompt action, it’s the duty of Japanese leaders to follow the outcry of their people.
    And let all animals be rescued ASAP.
    How high will be the earlier death rate of peoples broken hearts, doctors visits, medication and their side effects for those, who left their animals, often compared to family members , behind?
    It’s the year 2011. Peoples feelings got profen by science. So did animals. Yes: they feel pain.
    The leaders need to act consequently and fast. It’s far behind 12:00 already.
    Or does the government want to work by ignoring their own people’s voices with the knowledge: soon it will be all over, because all animals die gruesomely.
    Than they should kill them directly . Which would be more humane than what’s going on now.
    But what a bitter taste will stay in all our minds.

  • Maria
    May 4, 2011 | Permalink |

    To his Exzellenze , the Prime minister of Japan
    Dear Exellenze.
    This might be the moment where you can show class and complete leadership about the animals at ground zero. Please ASAP help their owners and stand up for your people. Who are crying out for help.
    Go ahead and just decide: they will get help, because you want so! Sometimes it’s that simple.
    where no more back and force talk is accepted.
    Just say: yes, – it could be so simple. All following problems will be solved. As done in so many deasters before.

  • Maria
    May 5, 2011 | Permalink |

    To his Exellence, the leader of Japan
    Dear Exellence ,
    With so much respect I salute Japan, how brave and strong they seem to handle this crises.
    My heart goes out to all, who still do suffer. There are a lot.
    In one szenario you could make peace so fast .
    Because it seems to be urgent to finish this endless, gruesome animal scene at ground zero
    We are human beings with feelings and can not watch this much longer( even being located at the other end of the world. In L.A. Soon we- not even professional- demonstrators, will do protest everywhere, if this does not come to a peaceful end very soon. I heard already from Germany, how upset they are.)
    The radiation anyway seems to be not from major effect anymore. And the moment you send relief for this operation, you will see animal rescuers, animal friends, and formost animal organizations coming from all over the world to take care of those animals, who has no home.
    This is an only to often needed practice, which showed it’s success so very often. Homes – yes, do will come from anywhere. That should not be your worry.
    All it takes to make all the difference are your magic words:
    “Let us safe the Japanese animals. Now! ”
    Even if late and after 12:00 already, it’s a last minute decision , which still can make up for all bad what happened already. You will admired for that, everywhere. You are all our hope.
    Sincerely
    Maria
    Ps. Written on Internet
    It’s

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