Dr.Teruo Higa’s
Living A Dream

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#40: My Thanks to the EM™ Volunteers Who Helped in the Fight Against Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Miyazaki Prefecture


The epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture did not spread to other prefectures, and at the end of July the state of emergency was completely lifted. Further, at the end of August a meeting was held of all the local livestock farmers in the prefecture to encourage them as they rebuild. This is a fresh start for livestock farmers as they recover.

In installment No. 36 of this essay series (June 1st), entitled “EM Countermeasures Against Foot-and-Mouth Disease,” I declared that EM™ is very effective in countering the disease, and outlined specific methods that can be employed. I submitted the initial report of this proposal in the middle of May to the “Ebino EM Study Group” in Ebino City. At the time I phoned Mr. Matsukubo, chair of the study group, and told him the following: “Farmers who are using EM™ will have no problems whatsoever. Using the farmers who are already using EM™ as a core group, please recommend to as many others as possible that they use EM™. That way a prevention zone will be created through EM™ and it will be possible to halt the spread of the disease. Just trust in it, and try it.”

At this point there were about twenty livestock farms using EM™, but after this many more began using it. In the case of Ebino, there are 150 livestock farms within a three- kilometer radius of the spot where the outbreak occurred, with most of the barns about one kilometer, or at most 1.5 kilometers, apart from each other. Three kilometers is considered point blank range when it comes to the spread of the disease, so these overcrowded conditions would ordinarily make it extremely difficult to halt the spread of the disease.

The first case of the disease in Ebino City was confirmed on April 28th, and by May 13th had spread to four farms, infecting 352 head of cattle and 320 hogs, leading to a state of panic. I began responding to the situation on May 15. Despite the dire situation, why did I declare that everything would work out fine?

As is well known among those who use EM™, EM™ has the ability to create what’s called in Japanese a kekkai, a kind of barrier zone. * If one hangs EM™ ceramics and plastic bottles filled with Activated EM•1® in the four corners of a cultivated field, for instance, crows will stop coming, and hiyodori (bulbul birds) will rarely invade the field. At the same time, the crops within the field will have stable growth. Naturally, it is even more effective to hang these not just at the four corners but to surround the field at an interval of every 4-5 meters.

When livestock farmers use EM•1® to prevent foul odors from spreading, this creates an EM barrier around the area that used to experience foul odors, and within this area harmful microorganisms such as the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, etc. will be halted at the border and will not encroach on the protected area. This is why I could state that for those farmers using EM™ everything would work out fine.

When I phoned Mr. Matsukubo and confirmed the number of livestock farmers in Ebino City who were using EM•1®, and how they are distributed, I understood that an EM protective barrier was already in place in the city, which led me to conclude that everything would work out fine in Ebino.

With this as background, I phoned Mr. Masahiko Yamada, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries at the time, one of the directors in charge of the response team set up to deal with this outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and told him, “There’s no need to worry about Ebino City. The infection won't spread any further there. Just continue to monitor the situation.” Afterwards, since the disease indeed did not spread any further in Ebino, it was treated as a special case and was declared disease free one step ahead of other areas.

Certificate of Appreciation from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Mr. Yamada, who headed the response team, later visited Ebino, confirmed the activities of Mr. Matsukubo’s Ebino EM Study Group, and he told me the following: “I understand exactly what you’re telling us, Dr. Higa, but it is extremely difficult to get the specialists in city government to understand it.” A prevention zone created with EM™ stops the spread of foul odors 3-4 times beyond the area that is the source of the odors, effectively to a range of 500-1,000 meters. Therefore even when there is a maximum 2,000 meter distance between barns where EM™ is used, results will be seen over time. Because this barrier will have a good effect on the region as a whole, I believe that the present foot-and-mouth disease outbreak has led to a rebirth of Ebino City, with all the local citizens cooperating in the effort.

At the same time, I proposed to Mr. Yamada the use of EM™ as a way to prevent secondary pollution when burying massive numbers of animal bodies, as a measure to prevent the spread of infection, and as a way to simplify the burial of bodies. He replied by saying, “What you’re proposing, Dr. Higa, is perfectly correct, but the city budget and policy has already been set and it is difficult to get a new appropriation. But as long as it can be done by volunteers, please go ahead.” This was on May 25th.

On May 26th I explained the situation to the staff of EMRO (EM Research Organization), and on the evening of the 27th sent the first wave of EM™ volunteers to Miyazaki, along with the maximum amount of EM•1®  they could transport. On May 29th, at the burial site in Shintomi-cho, EM™ was applied for the first time. Four days later, on June 2nd, after giving an explanation to the town’s mayor and deputy mayor, I went with those involved from the town to inspect the burial site.

The foul odors that had brought complaints from the neighborhood had disappeared, the bodies were no longer erupting with blood and other body fluids and gases, as they had been, there were almost no flies at all, and the heavy equipment operators were able to bury the bodies without having to wear protective masks. These successful results led Shintomi-cho to set up a tank in a corner the parking lot of the local Culture Center, where there is a fire hydrant, in order to produce one ton per day of Activated EM•1®; production began in earnest on June 4th.

Materials were provided by the Effective Microorganisms Laboratory, the EM Seikatsu Company also provided materials and personnel, and many volunteers helped out, starting with those from the EM Net group in Miyazaki Prefecture, so everything was in place. We reported on the activities of the group to the official response team headquarters and we proposed what we dubbed the “Ebino Method,” a new method of burying animal bodies using EM™ and preventing the spread of the disease. In response to this I was told that, “The country’s policy and budget are already set, so it will be difficult to make a change quickly, but as long as it’s volunteer, then that’s fine.”

Since we got the consent of the response team, I requested Mr. Shirakawa of EM Net to put into practice the “Ebino Method” in the regions affected by foot-and-mouth disease. For those EM™ workers unfamiliar with the area, Mr. Shirakawa’s aid was crucial. After this, because Shintomi-cho had way too many bodies to dispose of, and because EM™ was showing clear results, in the second half of the operation the simplified method of using EM™ I had proposed was put into effect, and we also got the active help of the Japanese Self Defense Force. This simplified method can dispose of more than twice the number as conventional methods, and it became clear that once it was used, there was no secondary pollution whatsoever.

After this, foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki quickly withered away. Thorough disinfection and the effects of conventional burial techniques were also very effective, and led to definite results, but I believe that if EM™ had been applied as part of livestock management, this sort of disaster would never have occurred.

Recently the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries presented a certificate of appreciation to the EM™ volunteers, which I accepted in their stead. My purpose here is to provide, to all those who supported our efforts, the process behind our efforts, and to again express my deep gratitude to them.

Shintomi-cho and EMRO have compiled a detailed report, centered on activities in Shintomi-cho, which we will present to Mr. Masahiko Yamada, former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and to the Ministry itself. Ebino City has used the opportunity of these measures against foot-and-mouth disease as momentum to further spread the use of EM™, and this movement is spreading to nearby towns and villages.

Based on the results we obtained in Miyazaki this time, we have decided, before the end of the year, to hold a public lecture and forum in Shintomi-cho and other municipalities on the theme of using of EM™ in crisis management and building communities that can withstand disasters. If Shintomi-cho can use these experiences and function as an EM™ Model Town, I expect that it can serve as a model not just for Miyazaki Prefecture, but for the entire country.

(*Kekkai refers to a kind of protective barrier created to protect the sacred, which is carried out in many ways in religious practice.)
 

Courtesy of Ecopure

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