I'm stunned and heartbroken over the news coming out of Japan, and we don't even know if the worst is over yet. The 9.0 earthquake that hit on March 11, 2011 caused devastating 30-foot-high tsunami waves as well as explosions at nuclear power plants. The nuclear crisis still isn't over, and the death toll could top 25,000. Over 400,000 people are homeless.
One poignant news video from Japan shows a dog who guards his wounded friend amidst a sea of rubble, and refuses to leave the other dog's side. Both dogs have since been rescued.
What you can do: Several charities are working to save animals in Japan. If you get a PayPal screen in Japanese, you can change it to English by clicking the drop-down menu in the top right corner:
- Nippon SPCA is accepting donations for its Earthquake Damage Animal and Shelter Fund. Their website states, "To our regret, very large damage had been received. All shops are closed. There is no water. There is not electricity either."
- Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is a coalition of three groups; HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata and Japan Cat Network, formed to "focus information, rescue and support for animals in crisis due to the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami in northern Japan."
- Animal Rescue Kansai is a nonprofit shelter in Japan that "will accept as many animals as possible, those made homeless from the TOHOKU-PACIFIC earthquake and tsunami which occurred on 11th March." The organization rescued over 600 animals after the Kobe earthquake of 1995.
- World Vets provides "veterinary aid around the globe in collaboration with animal advocacy groups, foreign governments, US and foreign military groups and veterinary professionals abroad." You can donate here, and visit their website here.
I just want to add quickly that any claims that this tragedy is somehow payback or karma for Japan killing whales or dolphins shows a gross insensitivity to the victims, as well as a lack of understanding of animal rights. I'm not going to post any quotes here, but these types of comments are either based on prejudice against Japanese people or a culturally imperialistic/speciesist view that Japan is wrong for killing whales but it's OK for other countries to kill cows. As stated on the Vegans of Color blog, nobody deserves a tsunami.
Kiyoshi Ota / Getty Images
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