I donated some money to ARK - Animal Refuge Kansai - when the Japanese Earthquake hit. They recently wrote me back with an update on what they have been doing, which is extraordinary and truly heroic. They also just sent out a notice that requires our attention immediately. Apparently, the Japanese Government will allow one or two family members, after the end of Golden Week, (29th April - 8th May) to enter the 20k zone to collect personal possessions. However NO PETS or other ANIMALS can be taken out. This means that all animals will be left in the zone to starve.
So, there is a petition you can print out and sign and mail (this works better than any email or online petition). You can find it here on ARK’s site and I will include an image of it in this post (both a long and short version). Please download it from their site (scroll down a little to see the files), print it out, add your name and address and any comments and send one copy each to the three people mentioned at the head of the petition. If you have trouble, email me at email@example.com and I will send you a file. [NOTE: I just mailed my three letters and (in large envelopes) it cost me under $6.00 to mail them all first class (and they will get there within the week - from California). I’m sure regular envelopes would be even less, but I thought large and yellow may stick out more on the person’s desk when they get it. Just FYI in case anyone was wondering about cost. It was super easy and super cheap.]
For pets to be banned from evacuation centers, public housing and temporary housing, forcing earthquake victims and their pets to live separately, would be in direct violation of this stated aim of the Environment Ministry:
“adequate support will be provided to ensure that pets in the disaster area receive appropriate care so that people and their pets can maintain good relations while living within the disaster area.”
Please please please share this information and help out by mailing this petition form. Let me know if you have questions. Mailing a few letters to Japan is the least we can do and is nothing compared to what the animals and people of Japan have been going through. Let’s do this, guys! :o)
In case you are interested, here are the update emails from ARK that I received (You can read more news updates from them here):
I am so sorry to be late in writing to say THANK YOU for your wonderful donation. This is just to let you know the current situation and what your donation is being used for. We are sending out daily updates so our supporters can follow our continued efforts.
We experienced the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and in that one year took in 600 animals. That experience has helped us this time although the scale of the disaster is enormous, compounded by the tsunami and the threat of radiation from the crippled nuclear plant. Kobe is only two hours drive from here but Tohoku is in the north of Japan, a day’s drive away, this hindered too by lack of petrol. We have had two boys from our staff up there rescuing, visiting local government offices for radiation screening, and then meeting up with volunteers from our Tokyo office. The animals are then taken to Tokyo Haneda airport and flown to Osaka Itami, where we pick them up. As of 29th April, 110 dogs, 15 cats and a masked love bird have come in here. Once at Osaka ARK, they are processed fairly quickly by our resident vet; de-wormed, vaccinated, blood tested for heart worm, microchipped and neutered. We send details of the animals with photos back to the local authorities to try to find owners. Already several have found their owners and those will be boarded ar ARK until they are in a place where they can take their pets back.
The town of Iidate Mura, and other towns too, are to be compulsarily evacuated within a month. People will not be allowed to take their pets. Our best calculation is that up to 1400 animals (dogs and cats) may be at risk in Iidate Mura alone. As yet the government has made no provision for them. We have put together a petition in Japanese and English. 77 organisations in Japan and another 350 organizations around the world will sign it - but we need your voice - and we need you to mail it in the old fashioned way. Unfortunately, online petitions and email petitions do not have the same impact as letters sent by ordinary mail. Attached is the English version, there is a French and Japanese version as well.
So you can see it is quite a lengthy process. We promise to board all these animals for free as well as giving all veterinary treatment and care for free. If we have no contact from owners or can’t find, after three months, the animals become the property of ARK and can be put up for adoption.
Update 29th April 2011
Boys rescued 28 dogs from the breeder yesterday. All young females except for some 2 month old puppies. 13 came to Osaka by air; 8 Chinese Crested pure and mixed, 3 Shar Pei, 1 poodle, 1 Italian Greyhound. 15 are at Tokyo ARK; including Chinese Cresteds, Italian Greyhounds, a Pug and 5 puppies mini-pincher x poodle. They will be quickly processed at our clinic here at ARK and at an outside veterinary clinic in Tokyo so that they can be put up for adoption. They are in relatively good shape and friendly so they should go quickly. Only another 100+ to go!
The breeder and his wife have said they will keep any old dogs or ones that are very shy but they will allow ARK to neuter all of them and then return them. It seems their home can be repaired.
YouTube shows local authority vets going into the 20k zone to catch animals and to euthanise dying livestock. There are 5,800 registered dogs in the 20k zone, a number we can double or triple to get a real picture. Some are with their owners in evacuation centres, some have been rescued by animal welfare groups and many must have died but still a lot missing. The film showed the number caught yesterday; five dogs and one cat. I think our boys are far more efficient at this job than the authorities. There is still a great scarcity of information on the animals in the 20k zone.
Boys were also interviewed by telephone and that interview appeared on Fuji TV this morning.
Yuko Nishiyama a Japanese veterinarian who runs a clinic in California and who is a regular speaker on animal welfare matters in Japan, is sending veterinary materials and monetary donations to ARK to help animals affected by the Tohoku disaster. We really appreciate her support. Her homepage appeal link is : www.jamdapet.com
Elizabeth Oliver ARK
Animal Refuge Kansai - ARK
Web Site: http://arkbark.net
URGENT update 2nd May 2011
Reported on the news yesterday, the Japanese Government will allow one or two family members, after the end of Golden Week, (29th April - 8th May) to enter the 20k zone to collect personal possessions. However NO PETS or other ANIMALS can be taken out. This means that all animals will be left in the zone to starve.
Our lawyer contacted us today asking that ARK appeals to individuals and organisations abroad to put pressure, through Japanese Embassies, on the Japanese Government, to reconsider this decision and to let people take out their pets and other animals.
We are shocked that the Japanese Government is acting in this inhumane manner and ask everyone to put maximum pressure, by whatever means on this Government.
Elizabeth Oliver ARK
Animal Refuge Kansai - ARK
Web Site: http://arkbark.net
Here are images of the petition - a long and short version: