TOKYO – Japan’s government said thousands of cattle and other livestock in the 20-km evacuation zone around that country’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant will be culled, according to AFP. Local farmers were forced to flee the area around the plant after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the nuclear plant’s cooling systems. As a result, cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals were abandoned.

More than 10,000 cows, prized for their marbled beef and rich milk, were left behind in the evacuation. Since the tsunami disaster, restrictions on local farm and fishery products have been initiated since the plant began leaking radiation.