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Great Eastern Japan Earthquake & Tsunami/Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident

The devastation of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, which has literally shaken the entire country, will remain in our memories for a long time. We wish to send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the over 20,000 people who lost their lives and to express our hopes for a rapid recovery and an improvement in the lives of those now living in temporary shelters.

Animals are also Among the Victims of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake

ALIVE News March 18th 2011

The companion animals in the affected areas are also victims of this disaster. ALIVE would like to introduce some of the guidelines for animal rescue in disasters that have been established by various government agencies.

The focus of the guidelines is on companion animals, but animals at zoos, aquariums and experimental facilities as well as livestock should also be included. Unfortunately, most areas that are without electricity and water have also lost their means of transportation, so there is no way to deliver food or water. So the animals in such areas are assumed to be dead by now. In the near future, rescue measures for animals that are under human care and for animals sustained by means of electric devices, such as experimental animals, should be discussed.

Cabinet Office "National Basic Countermeasures Plan"
Chapter 2: Disaster Emergency Countermeasures
10. Animal management in disasters (including hygiene control) and feeding plan
Rescue and care of pet animals in disaster areas
Management and care of animals at temporary shelters
Measures for escaped specified animals
Measures for animal infectious diseases
Food delivery and procurement methods

Ministry of the Environment "Basic Guidelines to Support the Mangement and Welfare of Animals in Disasters"
(8) Emergency Countermeasures
(a)The current situation and challenges
Animal care and rescue, support for pet owners, feeding abandoned animals and capturing escaped specified animals in disaster areas are conducted by the government, local governments, veterinarian associations and volunteer groups. These measures should be swiftly and continuously applied when an emergency situation arises, so it is very important to review and check the system and measures regularly.

(b) Measures that must be taken
A. Clearly define the position of animal management in the emergency countermeasures and organize a comprehensive animal rescue and support system so that appropriate help can be provided for animals in disasters.
B. Encourage pet owners to take appropriate measures such as to attach ID tags on their pets to prevent pets becoming lost. This will greatly assist rescue activities in emergency situations.

Animal Care and Welfare Committee, Clinical Group of Small Animals, Japan Veterinary Medical Association
The Manual of Animal Rescue and Support in Disasters? (PDF)
The manual (PDF) contains information about the Headquarters of Animal Rescue in Disasters. It also includes information about what you can do personally to help animals in disasters and how you can volunteer.

Headquarters of Animal Rescue in Disasters
· Shizuoka Animal Disaster Rescue Headquarters Guideline
· Japan Veterinary Medical Association: Guideline of Emergency and Disaster Response for Animals
· Mie Veterinary Medical Association: Disaster Guideline
· Hokkaido Veterinary Medical Association: sample activities
· Hyogo Veterinary Medical Association: sample activities

"Iwate Officials in Charge of Animal Welfare Project" (January 2011)
"Iwate Regional Disaster Prevention Project" Chapter 15: Medical Service and Health Plan
No. 9 Measures to Rescue Companion Animals
· The authority for the rescue project in Iwate Prefecture will discuss the issues listed below concerning the rescuing and fostering of companion animals. It will also provide help and support to cities, towns and other local administrative offices and local veterinary medicine associations and maintain smooth communications with the involved organizations and groups.
A. In cooperation with cities, towns and local administrative authorities, the prefecture will rescue and foster lost and abandoned animals temporarily and find their original owners who have lost in touch with their pets.
B. The prefecture will temporarily foster injured animals and provide medical treatment and other necessary support by working with local veterinary medicine associations.
C. The prefecture will provide appropriate care and support for animals that are evacuated with their owners and manage their hygiene control.
D. In the case that specified animals escape, the prefecture will work with the animals’ owners, the police and related organizations to discuss issues and prevent any accidents and injuries to people caused by the animals.

"Raising the Awareness of Iwate Residents" Disaster Response for Pets
Over 50% of residents answered that they are “not prepared” for handling pets in emergency situations.
Some people answered that they are “prepared” and that they would do as listed below:
25.2% answered that they have travel cages, carriers or cages.
22.3% answered that they have extra pet food for emergencies.
18.4% answered that they have attached an ID or nametag so that their pets can be identified in an emergency.

"Miyagi Prefecture Animal Welfare and Management Plan" (December, 2007)
Disaster response for animals in emergencies
In past earthquakes, there were no places that would readily agree to accommodate the office for an animal rescue headquarters at times of disaster. As a result, the headquarters operation had to be moved between different temporary offices. In other cases, there were people who had no choice but to stay in their cars with their pets because some temporary shelters did now allow animals. So people with pets spent many nights in small confined cars, with the result that many of these people got sick and in some cases died. There were also cases in which pet animals were not able to remain with their owners.
From this experience, Miyagi Prefecture and Miyagi Veterinary Medicine Association signed an agreement to promptly construct an animal rescue headquarters in emergency situations. Currently they are producing a manual and a training program, and they are also emphasizing the importance of disaster preparation to the prefecture’s residents.
They conduct emergency drills, provide dog training, and ensure that owners attach an ID tag or microchip their pet animals.

"Fukushima Prefecture Animal Care and Management Promotion Plan" (March 2008)
(9) Promoting Rescue Measures in Disasters
According to the “Animal (Pet) Rescue Manual in Disasters”, Fukushima Prefecture will conduct animal rescue, care and feeding support in order to reduce the suffering of the victims and to improve animal welfare. Fukushima will also work closely with neighboring prefectures, cities and towns, veterinary associations and volunteer groups in adjacent areas to establish a system that will work well in an emergency.