Make the handling of animals
subject to licencing!
The plight of some 440 laboratory animals
made headlines last April when the pharmaceutical factory "Blue
Cross" in Toyama-ken where they were kept went bankrupt
and was closed down. Most of the laboratory dogs and
cats were found to be thoroughbreds. This incident prompted
ALIVE's Fusako Nogami to probe more deeply into the history
of the "Blue Cross" animals and led her to
visit several of the breeders which had supplied them.These
were generally small establishments in remote locations
run by a single
person. Often the owner had subdivided his house or a shack
into partitions where he now kept a hundred or more dogs
in cramped, dark and dirty conditions. Some of the animals
were tethered to the wall, and none were given regular
exercise.No wonder that animals
bought from pet shops with similar suppliers are often
sickly and die an untimely death.
- Do not buy animals at pet shops;
- Do enter pet shops to ask questions about the animals
on display: where were they raised? Where are their parents?
Are they healthy?
- Challenge the authorities to provide effective laws and
T. K. gets some unexpected
By T. K.
Can the authorities really do nothing
about those awful pet shops? T. K. whose description
of a particular nasty specimen in Morioka City appeared
in news letter #22, decided to phone the regional authorities. "Not
under our jurisdiction!" she was told, and passed
on to the local Hokensho. There an official told her
that while he personally deplored the situation, there
was nothing he could do. The Animal Welfare Law had never
been implemented with the necessary regulations, and
he had no authority to act. In fact, he thought that
animal welfare groups were in a better position to help
in cases like this one, an idea he failed to elaborate...
check: Kitsunemura (Fox village) in Shiraishi CityImpressions:
This is an establishment whose treatment of the animals
constitutes cruelty for the following reasons:
- the animals are severely restricted in their movements
by being unnaturally confined in large numbers in a small
space or tethered to a wall;
- no provisions are made for treating sick animals;
- hygenic conditions are detrimental to the health of the
- the wardens control the animals with sticks;
- the animals are not regularly fed. They have to approach
the visitors and beg for food.
The truth about the "Travelling
The "Travelling Zoo" located in
Moriyama-shi (Shiga-ken) has gained a certain notoriety
in recent months. Its owner, Mr. Horii, boasts that he
looks after a thousand animals all by himself. The reality
however is somewhat different: far from being the animal
refuge described in certain parts of the media, the zoo
is a two storey building in the vicinity of the station
where animals, some of them domestic, some of them wild,
are kept in a 500 sq ft space in squalid, dark cages.
Once inside, an animal does not leave until it dies.The
noise and stench emanating from this establishment has
led neighbours to
call for its closure, however the authorities maintain
that they cannot act because there is no legislation!How
did this situation arise? Mr. Horii had been acquiring
animals since he was
a child, and calls himself a "collector". Overbreeding
at zoos, and the constant need for cute, young animals
to attract visitors, means that surplus animals are either
moved backstage where they live out their lives in tiny
cages, often hardly big enough to turn around in, or they
are sold off cheaply to entrepreneurs like Mr. Horii.Mr.
Horii takes some of his animals along to kindergardens,
and the odd matsuri, and claims that this hand-on experience
is educational. However, it is hard to see how this could
be true: touching a sickly, dirty camel imparts the wrong
impression to the children. Removed from its natural habitat,
the animal is seen as a mere plaything.
in touch with the organisers of the matsuris, and the
committees of the
schools and kindergardens Mr. Horii's zoo frequents.
Tell them that far from being a positive educational experience,
the display of such pitiful animals may actually be harmful
to the kids.
School animals: some
questions for the Ministry of Culture and Education
All over Japan, primary schools keep
small animals as classroom pets. As mentioned in
#20, ALIVE asked schools to report any problems,
and summed up their reaction in a paper published
On 8 October, we confronted an official of the
Monbusho with the results.According 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,
are no budgetary arrangements for their upkeep.The
official was aware of the problem of weekends and
was at the school to look after the animals, but
could not offer a satisfactory solution. At some
employees would take turns feeding the animals,
at others with
public access some neighbour would oblige. Public
create other problems, though.
animals nevertheless be considered necessary
purposes, the following
alternatives suggest themselves:
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.
- schools might keep small animals that can be taken home
over the weekend: hamsters, mice;
- for small children animals that do not need a lot of
looking after might be ideal: snails.