– Thousands of Fukushima cows culled in decontamination program (Voice of Russia, April 25, 2014):
Authorities in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture have ordered the culling of 1,692 cows abandoned after the evacuation of the region’s radiation zone, Japan Daily Press reported Friday. The herd was living in a 20-kilometer radius from the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant, and could be contaminated by radioactive leaks.
Local authorities decided to slaughter the animals in an effort to minimize the radiation risk for area residents, who have begun returning to the their homes and farms.
The farmers, who were not able to take the cows with them during the evacuation, opposed the government’s decision but have been allowed to breed more animals under the condition that the meat will not be sold on the public market.
So far, 750 cows have been bred in the region.
In March 2011, Japan was hit by a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, claiming more than 15,000 lives and causing a number of explosions at the Fukushima plant. In what has been dubbed the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, three of the plant’s reactors underwent a partial meltdown as radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and seawater. Before the disaster 3,500 people lived in the area surrounding Fukushima.