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Monument commemorates cows left behind after Fukushima nuclear disaster

A monument that was built to commemorate the cows that either died of starvation or were euthanized after being left behind in evacuation zones following the Fukushima nuclear disaster is seen in the town of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, on April 15, 2016. (Mainichi)

A monument has been set up in the town of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, to remember the cows that either died of starvation or were euthanized after being left behind following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

    Farmers from the Futaba Livestock Agriculture Cooperative Association attended a monument dedication ceremony on April 15. Because the association itself is located inside an area that was designated as a "difficult-to-return" zone following the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the monument -- a 3.6-meter-tall stone structure with an inscription -- was erected inside an industrial complex that people can enter.

    The message engraved on the structure expresses the sorrow of having left the cows, which association members had raised like their own children, to fend for themselves. Orders were eventually given to put the animals down. The 11 municipalities overseen by the association have euthanized some 1,700 cows.

    "It has taken five years (to construct this monument)," commented association president Nobuo Nemoto, 78. "We have not done right by these cows."

    "In part to pray for the repose of cows' souls, we'd like to support people aspiring to (be engaged in livestock farming) and continue working toward the restoration of livestock in this area," he added.

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