This isn’t feeding time, though. Instead, the animals are to be measured for the effects of radiation 15 times above the safe benchmark. The cows’ pasture is near Fukushima, a name synonymous with nuclear disaster. This former agriculture haven once had 3500 cattle and other livestock. Farmers who defied a government order to kill their cows continue to feed and tend about 200. But the herds won’t be used as food; now science is their mission. Researchers every three months test animals within a 20km radius of the Fukushima plant, where three reactors suffered core meltdowns after being swamped by a tsunami in 2011. It is the first study of the impact on large mammals of extended exposure to low-level radiation.