All over Japan,
primary schools keep small animals
as classroom pets. As mentioned
in newsletter #20, ALIVE asked
schools to report any problems,
and summed up their reaction
in a paper published in March.
On 8 October, we confronted an
official of the Monbusho with
to the representative, schools
are encouraged to keep classroom
pets so children can learn to
relate to animals naturally.
The most frequently kept animals
are rabbits and chickens, but
this is due to historical reasons
rather any preference of the
Ministry, which would be content
with snails or bugs. Schools
are not forced to keep animals,
so there are no budgetary arrangements
for their upkeep.
was aware of the problem of weekends
and holidays, when nobody was
at the school to look after the
animals, but could not offer
a satisfactory solution. At some
schools employees would take
turns feeding the animals, at
others with public access some
neighbour would oblige. Public
access would create other problems,
nevertheless be considered necessary
for educational purposes, the
following alternatives suggest
- schools might keep small
animals that can be taken home
over the weekend: hamsters,
- for small children animals
that do not need a lot of looking
after might be ideal: snails.
In an effort to convey to children
that cats and dogs must not be
abandonded, rescuing animals from
the Hokensho might be an option.
Rather than keeping animals, an
occasional visit to a an animal
sanctuary might prove educational.