farmers

Japanese cows develop skin spots, mysterious disease; farmers fear radiation affecting humans, too


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(NaturalNews) Livestock with strange white spots covering their skin were put on display at a recent protest in front of Tokyo's agriculture ministry, according to the Associated Press (AP). Two Japanese farmers, disturbed by the unusual markings, are calling on government officials to conduct a real investigation into what they believe is radiation poisoning from the shuttered Fukushima nuclear plant.

The damage is affecting hundreds of animals on farms near the plant, barring the sale of milk and meat due to safety concerns. And the Japanese government, say the farmers, has glossed over the problem by failing to properly investigate it and come up with an explanation, all the while pretending as though nothing is wrong.

"Our cows cannot be shipped as meat," lamented Masami Yoshizawa, one of the farm's organizers, before media and the public in Tokyo. "They are evidence of lives affected by radiation."

Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumara trucked it down to Tokyo together, bringing with them a black bull bearing the white spots. When they arrived in front of the ministry office, local police attempted to block the duo from bringing it onto the street so everyone could see it, claiming that the animal might be dangerous.

But the farmers were ultimately successful in gaining the public's attention, expressing vocal outrage over the loss of their farms, produce, and ultimately their livelihoods. In the aftermath of Fukushima, the Japanese government has taken a largely hands-off approach, siding with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in minimizing the damage caused by a large earthquake and tsunami that struck the facility back in 2011.

"What if this started happening to people?" asked Matsumara, expressing concerns about the human impacts of Fukushima radiation. "We have to examine the cause of this and let people know what happened to these animals."

Japanese government needs to take Fukushima radiation more seriously

According to the AP, Matsumara and Yoshizawa want the government to be more proactive in determining the cause of the white spots. They are also calling for an end to the culling of abandoned livestock, as well as the burning of radiation-contaminated vegetation that farmers need in order to keep feeding the suffering animals.

"The ministry told us they don't know what is causing the spots," added Yoshizawa. "Well, they need to do more research and figure it out. They can't just run away, saying they don't know."

Despite making calls through a megaphone for Yoshimasa Hayashi, Tokyo's farm minister, to come down in person to see the animal, Yoshizawa was unsuccessful in convincing anyone from the agency to make an appearance. The two farmers were, however, given access to the ministry's reception desk, where they presented a written appeal for action.

In the interim, feral animals continue to run wild in the evacuation zone surrounding Fukushima. And the more than 100,000 "nuclear evacuees" who escaped the area after the disaster have largely resettled elsewhere, leaving nearby towns virtually abandoned.

"Discarded towns, discarded evacuees," rattled an unsettled Yoshizawa. "The cattle and people are still living. We cannot remain silent."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.globalpost.com

http://www.japantimes.co.jp

http://abcnews.go.com

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