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Syllabus of "animal welfare on modern farm industry from the view point of the citizen "

The above speech was made for the "Symposium aiming for a farm animal industry that does not cause as much as damage against animals and the environment", that was held on the 30th of November in 2002 by Fusako Nogami (a director of ALIVE: All Life In a Viable Environment)

A drastic change of agriculture in Japan

Since the 1960s ,the amount of consumption of meat and dairy products has
been dramatically up.

Japanese traditional diet has included little meat and dairy products.
That is because 60% of our land is covered with mountains and woods and this condition used to enable us to live in a self sufficiency style, where we could produce rice and vegetables using rich water flown down from the mountain.

However, since the 1950s, Japan has aimed at the industrial society. Farmers went to the city and became labour. They have produced and exported the industrial products. And in return, they have imported foods. Farming communities and rural livelihoods has been collapsed. The rate of Japanese self sustenance for grain is now only 28%.

And more than 90% of fodder, that are fed to farm animals depends on the importation.

Animals behind closed doors

Now in Japan 20,000,000 pigs, 1,5 million cows, 8 hundred million chickens, 20,000 horses, and 5,000 goats are annually consumed as food .(including imports)

The public barely knows what kind of conditions these farm animals are kept under. Farm animals are regarded as simply as food in Japan.

They do not regard animals as beings closely linked to our lives and the environment, or even as alive animals that feel pain.

Farm animals are not simple machines to produce food but lives that feel pain or suffering just like us. Therefore the purpose of the welfare of animals can be said that we need to care about animals that they suffer less while they live, and to live in comfortable conditions as much as possible.

At this point there is a big difference between Japan and Europe in general concern and even animal protection activities.

Lack of information

In Japan O-157(colon bacillus), contamination by salmonella, BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease have broken out. They should be called "diseases caused by the intensive farm industry". These days the safety of food, contamination of the environment by waste matters such as excretion of farm animals and unfair consumption of natural resources are pointed out. However, few people notice that there are problems such as the methods by which animals are kept behind these issues, and that we are far behind in measures for animal welfare.

The big reason why we are behind in animal welfare is lack of public awareness and the secrecy behind which the farm industry operates. This also applies to other issues.

One of the issues that consumers are concerned with about the safety of food is too much use of medication to the animals. This means on the other hand, that animals are in seriously poor health conditions.

The safety of food is a serious problem concerning human life and we should notice that ignorance about this issue may be fatal.

People as much as possible need to visit farms so that they can know the real condition that farm animals are in. Our role as an NGO is to find out what kind of problems there are and to take measures to change the situation.

Animal abuse in the scene of farm industry

Harsh treatment against farm animals as follows should be improved.

*Cut off a part of body - cut off tails of pigs, cut off tails of cows, mutilation of pecks of chickens, shave off fangs of pigs, mutilation of various parts of the body.

*Restraint -take away free movement from animals by putting them in such as saw stalls and tethers

*Close confinement system - when kept or transported. This leads many fights by stress or even death by crushing in transportation.

*Poor facilities - hard concrete floor, no ventilation, dusty, wired floor, slippery floor and lack of litter containers

*Nutritive condition-artificial or replacement milk including meat-bone meal, unnatural feed, too much feeding forcing abnormal obesity

*Neglect of sickness - neglect of animals after they lose their economical value leading to death

*Violence -violent acts such as beating animals with stick, whipping and kicking

Laws should be adjusted in terms of animal welfare

At the moment a standard concerning the keeping and the managing of industrial animals (1987) and a directive concerning the method of disposing animals (1995) need to be revised based on the law concerning the protection and control of animals.

At the moment when this standard was established, they already discussed about a treaty about the welfare of farm animals in EU.

Compared with this situation, this standard about industrial animals simply mentions about hygiene, prevention of disease, disposal of excretion, prevention of noises. It completely lacks of the concept of protection and animal welfare.

Laws and standards concerning farm industries should be adjusted by introducing the concept of animal welfare.

The revolution of modern farm industry may lead not only to protection of animals but also to the confirmation of food safety, environmental protection and fair use or distribution of natural resources. We think that various participants such as consumers, producers, dealers, authorities researchers and media should be concerned with animal welfare to take measures towards legal process for this issue.