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Anti Vivisection Action Network




Make the handling of animals subject to licencing!

By Fusako Nogami.

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 regulations.

T. K. gets some unexpected answers

By T. K. in Iwate-ken.

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...

Zoo check: Kitsunemura (Fox village) in Shiraishi CityImpressions:

This is an establishment whose treatment of the animals constitutes cruelty for the following reasons:

  1. the animals are severely restricted in their movements by being unnaturally confined in large numbers in a small space or tethered to a wall;
  2. no provisions are made for treating sick animals;
  3. hygenic conditions are detrimental to the health of the animals;
  4. the wardens control the animals with sticks;
  5. the animals are not regularly fed. They have to approach the visitors and beg for food.

The truth about the "Travelling Zoo"

By Fusako Nogami.

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, primary schools 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.


Get 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

By Fusako Nogami.

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 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, so there are no budgetary arrangements for their upkeep.The official 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, though.


Should animals nevertheless be considered necessary for educational purposes, the following alternatives suggest themselves:

  • 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.
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.