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Fukushima ranchers honor dead cattle from nuke disaster


Cattlemen dedicate a monument to livestock that died as result of the 2011 nuclear disaster on April 15, in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture.

TOMIOKA, Fukushima Prefecture–About 170 cattlemen gathered here on April 15 to dedicate a monument to beef cattle that died from starvation or had to be euthanized as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

According to a local livestock cooperative, cattle farming was thriving in the coastal area of Fukushima Prefecture before the disaster unfolded at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011.

Nobuo Nemoto, head of the cooperative, which is based in Futaba, a town that co-hosts the stricken nuclear plant, said he and other cattle farmers will work hard to revive the industry.

“We are facing enormous difficulties, including the aging of farmers and a dent in morale in resuming the industry,” he said. “Despite that, we are hoping to make a fresh start with the ceremony to unveil the monument.”

Although many cattlemen were forced to evacuate and leave their livestock behind, many returned to their farms on occasion to feed and take care of their animals.

But after the government set up a 20-kilometer no-entry zone around the plant on April 22, 2011, the number of cattle that died of starvation on farms near the plant increased dramatically.

The no-entry zone was established to prohibit evacuees and others from entering the area due to high levels of radioactive substances.

The government then instructed the cattle ranchers to have their starving animals euthanized after gaining their consent. By February 2014, about 1,700 head of beef cattle–primarily cows and their calves–were put out of their misery.

April 15, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | ,

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