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Rancher guards irradiated cattle near Fukushima

The cows raised in Japan's Ranch of Hope can never be sold.

They live just miles away from what was once the Fukushima nuclear station, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

In its wake, Japan's government ordered a widespread cull of livestock exposed to radiation.

But for the past decade, rancher Masami Yoshizawa defied that order, and kept his cows alive.

"I've been exposed to radiation, but I chose to stay here. By keeping these cattle, I'm hoping for a world without nuclear power plants."

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes a decade ago following the disaster.

Many cows starved to death as a result.

But Yoshizawa stayed - and took in animals left behind.

Now he guards more than 200 cattle as protest against the government and Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, which owned the Fukushima nuclear plant.

"I hope that more people see these cattle stay alive for a long time - as a memorial of the disaster, and as a symbol of anti-nuclear power."

Yoshizawa says it costs about USD$74,000 a year to feed them.

That mostly comes from donations.

He even drives a bulldozer every day to pick up rotting vegetables from supermarkets, and food waste from factories to feed his cows at a lower cost.

While he's received compensation from the disaster, he is also critical of what Tepco has contributed to local residents.

And every month, he takes his protest straight to the utility company's doors.

Yoshizawa says he's probably the only rancher taking care of the affected cattle.

But he also says he isn't slowing down, any time soon.