. Energy News .

Fukushima cattle farmers despair over beef ban
by Staff Writers
Fukushima City (AFP) July 20, 2011

Using a special permit, beef rancher Masami Yoshizawa makes a weekly trip inside Japan's nuclear no-go zone around a crippled atomic plant to feed 300 of his cows that still live in the area.

Post-quake life under a nuclear shadow was already tough for Fukushima cattle farmers, but they say a ban on shipments of cows from the prefecture amid Japan's latest food radiation scare could destroy their livelihoods.

"Many cows starved to death in Fukushima after the nuclear accident" as farmers did not return to feed them, said Yoshizawa, responsible for some 1,000 cattle in the region as foreman of M Ranch farming.

"Now it's our turn. Cattle farmers will starve to death," a frustrated Yoshizawa told AFP.

The government on Tuesday banned all cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture due to escalating fears over radiation-tainted beef in the country's meat distribution chain, four months after the nuclear accident.

Around 650 cattle are thought to have been contaminated with radioactive caesium from hay they were fed before being sent for slaughter -- including some from areas well beyond the 20 kilometre (12 mile) evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

At some farms officials detected levels of caesium in hay that were about 520 times the government-designated limit, likely due to fallout from the nuclear plant following reactor meltdowns sparked by the March 11 quake-tsunami disaster.

The animals were processed from late March, and some of the meat has been consumed at restaurants and family dinner tables nationwide in a scare that follows contaminated tea, milk and various vegetables.

Under fire for its handling of the quake aftermath, the government has faced accusations of negligence over its failure to establish centralised testing of farm produce, having lifted earlier bans on some items.

Tokyo, at pains to point out that standard servings of the meat pose no immediate health risk, has pledged to compensate farmers for losses.

But consumers have rapidly lost faith in both the product and officials.

"We have been selling Fukushima beef that has passed screening tests, but no one wants to buy it," said an employee at a butchers shop in the prefecture where banners backing Fukushima beef were displayed.

"We don't know what to do," said the employee who declined to be named.

"Fukushima farmers are facing crisis," said Yoshiyuki Genei, a worker at another M Ranch cattle shed in Nihonmatsu, central Fukushima.

"It may take 10 years or longer to fully stabilise the nuclear accident. Cattle farmers cannot hang on for such a long time," he said, referring to the years needed to decommission and decontaminate the plant site.

Fukushima, some 220 kilometres (137 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was a major beef supplier to the capital with some 78,000 cows fed in the prefecture.

Yu Matsukawa, senior director at Fukushima Livestock Association said farmers now faced a grim choice of paying for costly feed or culling their cows.

"Does any farmer intend to harm the health of consumers?" Matsukawa said. "The contamination was not caused by farmers. They are also victims."

Tens of thousands of people remain evacuated from homes, businesses and farms inside the no-go area and beyond, and embattled plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. faces massive compensation costs.

Despite the ban, some Fukushima meat may continue to be sold as ground meat and organs, products not required to carry labels indicating origin.

"I'm trying to buy food from outside Fukushima, but it's difficult to find," said Sumiyo Sakuma, a 39-year-old housewife and mother of a nine-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl.

"I don't want my children to eat food from Fukushima," said Sakuma. "My concern is about any effect on my children."

Experts warn the government should widen restrictions on food shipments from Fukushima, with many studies linking internal radiation exposure to higher future incidences of cancers.

"We should not underestimate the current levels of radiation detected in Fukushima," said Katsuma Yagasaki, an honorary professor of University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa and researcher of radiation effects.

"The government must halt shipments of all foods from Fukushima for now and provide farmers with full compensation in return."

Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Greenhouse gas impact of dairies measured
Kimberly, Ohio (UPI) Jul 19, 2011 - U.S. agricultural scientists say they have produced the first detailed data on how large-scale dairy facilities contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases.

U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers monitored the emissions of ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from a commercial dairy with 10,000 milk cows in southern Idaho, a USDA release said Tuesday.

Agricultural Research Service scientists at the Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory in Kimberly, Idaho, conducted the study at the facility that has 20 open-lot pens, two milking parlors, a hospital barn, a maternity barn, a manure solid separator, a 25-acre wastewater storage pond and a 25-acre compost yard.

The study found that, on average, the facility generated 3,575 pounds of ammonia, 33,092 pounds of methane and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide every day, with the open lot areas creating 78 percent of the facility's ammonia, 57 percent of its nitrous oxide and 74 percent of the facility's methane emissions.

The emission of ammonia and nitrous oxide from the open lots were lower during the late evening and early morning, and then increased throughout the day to peak late in the day, researchers said.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Japan bans Fukushima beef shipments over radiation
Tokyo (AFP) July 19, 2011
Japan on Tuesday suspended cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture on fears of radiation-tainted beef in the country's meat distribution chain, four months after a nuclear accident in the region. Tokyo told Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato to "halt shipments of all cattle in Fukushima to meat-packing factories," until the safety of the meat can be confirmed, chief government spokesman Yukio ... read more

Tsunami airglow signature could lead to early detection system

Underwater Antarctic Volcanoes

Lockheed Martin and Esri Sign Partnership Towards On-Demand Geospatial Apps and Services

Astrium to build Sentinel-4 atmospheric sensors

Boeing: 2nd Boeing GPS IIF Satellite Ready for Launch from Cape Canaveral

Apple makes first S. Korea payout over tracking

A new algorithm could help prevent midair collisions

AI Solutions to Assist Air Force with GPS Satellite Positioning Data and Analyzing GPS Anomalies

Forests soak up third of fossil fuel emissions: study

Lack of meaningful land rights threaten Indonesian forests

Forest trees remember their roots

Tribes welcome Indonesia's pledge to forest people

EU announces biofuel guidelines

US Air Force: We want to use biofuels

Breaking down cellulose without blasting lignin

Switch from corn to grass would raise ethanol output, cut emissions

Solar Panels Keep Buildings Cool

Westfield Amps Up Sustainability Efforts in Southern California

PV System Test Reports Made Simple

Latest DUNMORE Innovation Adds Unique Identifiers to Backsheet

Estonian wind farm taps GE for turbines

Wind-turbine placement produces tenfold power increase

Bold new approach to wind 'farm' design may provide efficiency gains

2010 Wind Technologies Market Report

China rescuers end search for Guizhou miners

Australia PM hails coal deal amid poll slump

Three die in China coal mine rescue

21 trapped in China iron ore mine: report

China stands firm against Tibet separatism

China tells Tibet monks to 'break with separatists'

Clash in China's Xinjiang killed 20: exile group

China vows to crush stability threats in Tibet

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement