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Japanese politics: summer round-up

September 9, 2010

It was not a good summer for Japanese cows. We started off on the wrong hoof in April when the first case of Foot and Mouth Disease was reported in Miyazaki Prefecture. Despite all the publicity Foot and Mouth gets, we remind people that bovines prefer the more politically correct “Hoof and Mouth.” Not only is it more correct, but we feel Foot and Mouth is too closely associated to “foot in mouth” an English expression used to indicate someone has said something stupid. We avoid references which might make cows sound dumber than we really are. The summer ended abruptly for over 1,200 cows who died of heat stroke.

Now that the Hoof and Mouth epidemic has been officially declared finished we have decided to present this Summer Round-up, also known as a “Muster” in other parts of the cattle world, in hopes that Japan can learn from some of its mistakes. Welcome to the Muster!

We, the cows at Humor-Us, offer the following main points of the Muster as fodder:

1. The local Japanese governments MUST act faster and MUST set policies on contagious bovine diseases.

Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashi Kukaburra did not move fast enough to irradiate Hoof and Mouth after it was first reported. Instead he stalled around, dreaming up ways the prefecture might be spared the bad publicity. One idea submitted by local officials was to simply ignore the report to see if it would go away. Another idea was to refuse to admit there was an outbreak. The last option, which seemed most logical, was complete denial.  Unfortunately, none of these worked and the problem was soon out of control prompting a killing spree in which hundreds of thousands of bovine lives were taken.

2. Farms MUST be placed further apart to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

One thing animals lack in Japan is space. Too many cows are crowded into pens that are too small. Furthermore, because the farms are not spaced far enough apart, there are no buffer zones to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

3. Farmers MUST show greater awareness of the needs of cattle, which are not that different from the needs of humans.

The heat wave this summer claimed the lives of another 1,200 or so cows. There is no excuse for bovine heat stroke these days. It really shows a lack of brain space, especially the frontal lobe, on the part of the farmers who do not look after their cows properly. And they call them livestock farmers?

Farmers MUST put fans inside barns, hose down their cows with cool water and let them walk around outside or stand under the shade of a tree. Barns can be insulated against the heat. Air conditioning would be really nice too. Some kakigori as well.

4. Japan MUST abide by the rules of Ushido (牛道), the way of the cow, which stipulates that all cows be treated with fairness and compassion and that they are entitled to the pleasure of a cold beer now and then.

Thanks for joining the Muster!

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