Prepared by Dr. John Gripper (July 1996)
All Life In a Viable Environment
(ALIVE) is a non-profit citizens organization made
up of people who, in recognition of the fact that
all life on Earth forms part of a single ecology,
are alert to the suffering of wild animals, experimental
animals, stock-bred animals, etc., and who are working
to tackle a wide range of problems that confront
animals today. In our efforts to eliminate animal
abuse and prevent the spread of industries that exploit
animals cruelly or commit violence against life,
we gather and supply information, organize campaigns
and attempt to engage public opinion. In addition,
we are working to ensure the passage of effective
legislation concerning animal welfare and protection
All Life In a Viable
The Born Free Foundation
(BFF), based in England, has been working since 1984
to reform the conditions in zoos worldwide. BFF has
been o pioneer in exposing the psychological distress
of many captive animals. The organization also played
a leading role in helping to bring an end to captive
dolphin industry in the United Kingdom. Besides its
work with zoos, BFF has a number of educational programs
aimed at empowering people to protect species in
Born Free Foundation
This report was authored by
Dr. John Gripper who was commissioned by ALIVE and
BFF but acted as an independent contractor. Therefore,
the report is Dr. Gripper's opinion, and ALIVE and
BFF disclaim any inaccuracies.
Forword: Classification of inspected zoos (by F.
Japanese Zoos is a report by
Dr. John Gripper, a British wildlife veterinarian and
a zoo inspector for the British Government. In July
1996, at the request of the Japan-based NGO ALIVE in
cooperation with the British-based Born Free Foundation,
Dr. Gripper visited Japan and carried out inspections
at ten zoological gardens.
The zoos inspected by Dr. Gripper
can be classified broadly into three types:
- Zoos run by local governments and supported by
- Ueno Zoo and Tennoji Zoo are both municipal zoos
located in the large cities. Both have have greater
financial resources compared with zoos run by most
other local governments, and so they have carried
out a number of recent improvements.
- Odawara Zoo is a small zoo in which animal cages
are dotted here and there in a park surrounding a
castle. Himeji Zoo is inside Himeji Castle which
is a designated World Heritage Site and a National
Treasure. These two facilities are typical of the
traditional zoo in which cage space is narrow and
abnormal animal behavior can be routinely observed.
- Zoos run by private corporations (mainly railway
and tourism companies )
- The Japanese Monkey Center is a zoo exclusively
for monkeys and other primates which is run by the
Nagoya Railway Company, Ltd. This zoo collects nineteen
species of primates from around the world. In addition,
it takes in unwanted primates from other zoos and
supplies them to colleges and pharmaceutical companies
for experimentation involving vivisection.
- Takarazuka Zoo is run by the Hankyu Railway Company,
Ltd. It is located inside the company's amusement
park, Takarazuka Family Land.
Enoshima Aquarium is Japan's oldest marine zoo
and the first to begin dolphin shows. The facilities
are old and the marine mammals are enclosed in
extremely small tanks.
- Zoos run by individuals or families.
- Petland Himeji is a facility run by a couple.
They engage in the breeding, buying and selling of
small animals and they keep and exhibit animals whose
owners are no longer able to keep them. There are
too many animals for the space available and the
animals are neglected and uncared for.
- Shirotori Animal Land is a zoo run by a family
and specializes in performances of dogs, monkeys,
goats, tigers and lions. Fierce animals kept at this
facility have their nails and fangs removed. The
animals' cages are extremely small and their living
environment is poor.
- Yoshikawa Shokai, a dealer in wild animals, imports,
sells, transports and keeps zoo animals. The cages
in which the animals are kept are extremely cramped.
Yoshikawa also holds monkeys and other animals that
are surplus to the requirements of zoos.
Towards the establishment of a legal
framework for animal welfare in Japan, there is a statute
entitled 'Standards Relating to the Keeping and Custody
of Animals for Exhibition, etc., 1976' which is based
on 'The Law Concerning the Protection and Control of
Animals, 1973'. However, neither these standards nor
the law itself includes regulations relating to animal
welfare and there are no regulations whatsoever governing
the activities of animal dealers. At present in Japan,
many of the people engaged in animal breeding, sales,
trading and keeping are maintaining their animals in
very poor conditions and as a matter of conscience
the situation cannot be ignored any longer. Also in
Japan there are no laws to protect wild marine mammals
that are considered to be marine resources or harmful
pests, and under this situation approximately 20,000
dolphins are caught each year. Of these animals, several
hundred are sold to marine parks or leisure facilities
each year where they are kept without exception in
very small tanks.
We urge both local governments and
the Japanese national government to take immediate
and effective administrative measures toward abolishing
such practices and ensuring animal welfare and protection.
Toward the closure or improvement
of substandard zoos: as a result of the inspection
undertaken by Dr. Gripper, the extremely poor conditions
that prevail at many Japanese zoos have become clear
and will be publicized internationally. Many facilities
are simply show tents to which no improvements worth
mentioning have been made in decades. The animals placed
in these facilities don?t receive the basic care that
they require as living beings and as a result they
live and die in miserable circumstances.
We will endeavor to bring the appalling
conditions in which many zoo animals are kept to the
attention of as many people as possible, and stress
to Japanese society its basic responsibility to recognize
and respect the dignity of life.
List of zoos
- Enoshima Aquarium, Enoshima.
- Himeji Zoo
- Japan Monkey Centre, Inuyama
- Odwara Zoo, Odwara City
- Pet Land
- Shirotori Animal Land
- Tennoji Zoo, Osaka
- Takarazuka Familyland
- Ueno Zoo, Tokyo
- Yosikawa-Syokai. Animal Dealer
- EAZA Standards for the accommodation and care of
animals in zoos.
During this inspection of zoos
in Japan it was decided to concentrate on those aspects
of the zoos that can be seen by the public, supplemented
by information supplied by the zoo director and his
This report will cover enclosures,
safety and security, animal welfare, environmental
enrichment, education and conservation but will not
include comments on veterinary care, staffing, management,
feeding or record keeping.
I would like to acknowledge the
help and assistance I received during this tour and
study of zoos from Una Trueblood and Virginia McKenna
from the Born Free Foundation.
The itinerary was organised by Alive,
the Japanese animal welfare group. I was accompanied
throughout my visit by members of this group and would
like to thank Fusako Nogami, Kitawura Takashi and Taeko
Nagai, Hatsuo Matsumara, Mary Corbett, Ayako Minami,
Kumiko Tabuchi, Mr & Mrs Yamamoto, Elizabeth Oliver,
Nogami and Funahashi and especally to Kazou Kawakami
who met me at Tokyo airport and accompanied me for
the whole week. I must acknowledge their determination
in completing a heavy schedule successfully in hot
Animal welfare legislation
The law in Japan covering
the protection and control of animals is Law No.
105, October 1973.
The purpose of this law is to
prevent cruelty to animals, the appropriate treatment
of animals and the protection of animals.
The Fundamental principle is set
out in Article 2: 'All people must not only refrain
from killing, injuring, and inflicting cruelty upon
animals, but they must also treat animals properly,
taking their natural habitats into account.'
The Animal Protection Council
should be established as an advisory organ of the
Prime Ministers Office.
There is a section entitled 'Standards
relating to the keeping and custody of animals for
exhibition - (notification No 7 February 10 1976)'.
However, this section is of a general nature and
does not set any standards or inspection procedure
within the legislation for the keeping of wild life
Article No 13 states that 'Any
person who cruelly treats or who abandons a protected
animal shall be liable to a fine or minor fine of
not more than (Y30,000).'
There appears to be no special
animal legislation in regard to pet shops or for
quarentine for the import of wild animals.
European Association of Zoo's and Aquaria (EAZA)
This is a voluntary group
of zoos within Europe and membership can either by
affiliate (non voting) or full membership (full voting).
There is a set of EAZA standards
which are enclosed as an appendix to this report
but there would appear to be no inspection of individual
zoos prior to acceptance for membership of EAZA.
Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquarium
This is a voluntary group
of zoos within Japan to which 180 zoos have joined.
New members receive an inspection visit.
In December 1976 there was published
by JASGA a set of ?Guidelines for the keeping of
animals for display purposes,
However, these guidelines set
very small standards of enclosure signs and are now
outdated. Examples of the enclosure sizes were: Bears:
4 x 4 x 3 meters, Lion: 3 x 4 x 3 meters, Hyena:
2 x 3 x 3 meters, Gorilla: 5 x 5 x 3 meters.
In the U.K., the Dangerous
Wild Animals Act of 1976 does not apply to zoos but
requires individuals to obtain a licence for keeping
a dangerous wild animal.
In 1984, The Zoo Licensing Act
was introduced which brought all zoo collections
under an inspection and licensing system. Following
the introduction of this Zoo Licensing Act, many
substandard zoos have closed down, and there was
an improvement in the standards of the remaining
It is expected that there will
be a similar European Zoo Licensing Act within the
countries of the European Union.
There is a separate Pet Shop Act
whereby local authorities are responsible for the
inspection and licensing of pet shops for the sale
There are no international
laws governing the possession and/or public display
of wildlife, though trade in endangered species is
controlled through the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
An enclosure is defined as
any accommodation provided for animals in zoos. Standards
for the accommodation and care of animals in zoos have
been set out in June 1994 by the European Association
of Zoos and Aquaria.
This report sets the following standards
for Accommodation - Space, Exercise and grouping:
- Animals to be provided with an environment, space
and furniture sufficient to allow such exercise as
is needed for the welfare of the particular species.
- Enclosures to be of a sufficient size and animals
to avoid animals within herds or groups being
unduly dominated by individuals.
to avoid the persistent and unresolved conflict
between herd or group members or between different
species in mixed exhibits.
to ensure that the physical carrying capacity
of the enclosure is not over burdened.
to prevent an unacceptable build-up of parasites
and other pathogens.
- Animals, not to be unnaturally provoked for the
benefit of the viewing public.
- Animals in visibly adjoining enclosures to be those
which do not interact in an excessively stressful
- Separate accommodation for pregnant animals and
animals with young to be available, if necessary,
in the interests of avoiding unnecessary stress or
- Animals in outdoor encloses to be provided with
sufficient shelter from inclement weather or excessive
sunlight where this is necessary for their comfort
There is a need in any enclosure for the animal to
be able to retreat from the visiting public, from cage
mates or from some negative environmental factors (Lawrence
Curtis, Oklahoma City Zoo).
Enclosures which become rusty or
corroded, in addition to being a danger to the animals,
have the potential for breakage, thereby allowing for
the escape of the animals (AZA Accreditation Standards).
Many of the zoos which I visited
in Japan had enclosures that were too small in size.
Safety and security
Guardrails/barriers must be
constructed in all areas where the visiting public
could have contact with other than handleable animals.
The advice given in the EAZA standards
goes into further details about the need for enclosure
barriers and stand off barriers.
There should also be a perimeter
fence which should surround the whole zoo.
These measures are designed to avoid
injury to members of the public and also prevent escape
of wild animals.
Some of the zoos in Japan had no
stand off barriers between hazardous animals and the
public or barriers that were not fully childproof.
Some scientists equate animal
welfare with biological fitness, claiming that welfare
is only reduced if the animal's inability to survive
and reproduce is impaired.
However Broom (1991) argues that
although physical condition is important, an animal's
welfare may also be poor in the absence of physical
problems for example if the animal is frightened, anxious,
frustrated or bored. Other researchers have distinguished
between physical animal health and animal suffering
caused by an unpleasant mental state.
Assessing welfare is relatively
simple for those who think that breeding and physical
health are the definitive measures to use. The measurement
is less easy for these who believe that an animal's
feelings are a more important determinate of its welfare.
The interpretation of animal welfare
and suffering involves a subjective judgement based
on observation and knowledge of normal animal behaviour.
Abnormal or stereotypic behaviour
is an indication of chronic suffering caused by frustration,
boredom, depression and anxiety (Lawrence and Rushen).
Broom has defined a stereotype as
a repeated, relatively invariate sequence of movements
that has no obvious purpose. Stereotypic behaviour
may take the form of pacing, circling and head weaving
and self mutilation.
Orienting consists of movements
of the head and/or the whole body which direct the
sensory organs towards a perceived goal or stimulus.
Behaviourial fixation or vacuum activity is a form
of immobile posture.
Throughout my inspection of zoos
in Japan I saw many examples of stereotypic behaviour
in captive animals, especially those in small cages
Zoo animals require to be fed
special diets prepared under hygienic conditions and
scientifically designed for individual needs within
each species. This is not possible when indiscriminate
feeding of animals by the public is permitted.
Furthermore there is a danger from
public feeding that poisonous or hazardous items will
be given to the animals such as coins, cigarettes,
silver paper and plastic bags.
Uncontrolled feeding by visitors
is not permitted. Food and drink provided for animals
to be of the nutritive and quantity required for the
a particular species and for individual animals within
each species (EAZA).
The majority of zoos in Japan did
not permit feeding of the animals by the public.
Whilst the quantity of space
can be considered a core requirement in the housing
of all captive animals, attention paid to methods or
systems for environmental and/or behavioral enrichment
of the animals surroundings plays an essential role
in providing a high quality of space. Quantity and
quality of space act synergistically to satisfy the
physical and psychological needs of the captive animal.
Enclosure design and placement, building materials,
cage furnishings and daily management can be critical
in the elimination or mitigation of welfare problems
manifested by stereotypic behaviour patterns.
The goal of any enrichment tactic
is twofold: first, it provides an animal with power
or the ability to make a choice in its daily routine;
and secondly, it provides a means by which an animal
can express a facet of its natural behaviour. The enrichment
or enhancement of a captive environment should take
into consideration the nature of the subject species
and the personality of the individual animal(s).
What is now often thought of as
enrichment began when we moved beyond the sterile cage
to the naturalistic habitat. If such a habitat is sensitively
and appropriately designed and maintained from the
outset, little more in the way of enrichment may be
needed. However numerous situations exist where enrichment
modifications are in order to make up for the flaws
or shortcomings of typical captive accommodations.
Environmental enrichment can be
carried out by the management of husbandry procedures
such as variations in the feeding regimes such as:
- Random feeding times
- Frequency of daily feeds
- Varying amount of food fed
- Feeding methods i.e scatter feeding to encourage
- Varying food types fed
- Enrichment can also be implemented by improvements
to the lay out of the enclosures:
- Change of enclosure
- Change of lay out
- Introduction of natural habitat i.e tree trunks,
branches climbing frames, shrubs, wood piles, nesting
areas, straw, water pools.
- Introduction of devices such as swings, bungee
rubbers, ropes, toys, bars and tires.
Many of the animal exhibits and
enclosures in the zoos in Japan that I visited had
a barren environment and there was a poor understanding
of modern enrichment procedures.
Education should be an important
and integral function of all zoos and is part of the
justification for keeping wild animals in captivity.
However if the animals on display
are not in a state of well being or are in substandard
accommodation or enclosures then a negative message
is portrayed to the public. For this reason all zoos
must move towards more naturalistic exhibits.
Education is more than just putting
up a sign with the name of the species outside the
cage. More detailed information should be displayed
about the exhibits and this should be supplemented
by hand out literature and informative guide books,
pro-active audio visual aids and educational programmes
About half of the zoos I visited
in Japan had good educational notices and information
on display and some also had full time educational
staff with special lecture and teaching rooms for school
The Rio Summit, The Convention
on Biological Diversity and the recently amended 'mission
statement' of IUCN, all have one objective at the centre
of their agenda which may be summarised as follows:
the conservation and sustainable management of natural
ecosystems and the wild species that inhabit them.
The role of ex situ conservation
programmes through captive breeding of endangered species
in zoos and reintroduction back to the wild has been
of limited success.
The future of successful conservation
programmes is international habitat based where the
natural ecosystem is preserved and supported by the
local people, this may have to be supported by in-situ
The international conservation programmes
carried out worldwide have been based on captive breeding
of endangered species. More involvement by zoos is
needed in overseas field projects and research involving
the protection of the local habitat.
The value to conservation of poor
standard zoos with uncontrolled breeding of common
species is NIL.
A consideration of the standards set by the U.K.Licensing
Act in relation to my inspection of zoos in Japan showed
that, of the nine zoos visited, only three attained
the necessary standard.
The three zoos that passed the standards
subject to compliance with the recommendations were:
Japan Monkey Centre, Inuyama, Tennoji Zoo, Osaka, Ueno
- All captive wild animals must be kept in a manner
that ensures the animals wellbeing and addresses
the physical, behavioral, psychological, nutritional
and social needs. Captive wild animals must be housed
in environments that stimulate the widest possible
repertoire of natural behaviour.
- Zoo Licensing legislation should be introduced
that would require the State to inspect and licence
wild animals in zoos, circuses, traders and those
kept in private collections.
- The zoo industry must have mandatory procedures
for the humane disposal of any surplus animals which
prohibits zoos or dealers passing on animals directly
or through an intermediary to substandard zoos, research
laboratories, private individuals or circuses.
- The JAZGA guidelines should be updated and all
zoos should be encouraged to raise their standards
of accommodation and animal care to achieve the international
standards set by EAZA.
- The Japan Association for Zoological Gardens and
Aquarium (JAZGA) and its accredited members should
take active responsibility for improving the conditions
of all zoological gardens, regardless of the membership
status. This effort should include setting standards
for zoos, teaching modern methods of maintaining
captive wild animals, developing educational programmes
and working with appropriate regulatory bodies and
animal protection groups to ensure the proper care
of animals in zoos.
- Japan should have strict quarantine regulations
for the isolation and testing for zoonotic diseases
of all wildlife imported into the country - especially
primates that need to be tested zoonotic diseases
such as tuberculosis, ebola virus, B virus and salmonella.
- There should be legislation and strict control
with inspection of all wildlife animal dealers and
traders to ensure that the animals they are keeping
and transporting are handled in a humane manner.
- There should be enforcement of article 13 of the
Law for the Protection of Animals in respect of State
prosecution and fines for cruelty to animals with
the option to ban individuals from keeping animals.
- A.Z.A, Accreditation Standardization Guidelines,
- Broom D.M., 1991 Animal Welfare, Concepts and Measurement,
Journal of Animal Science
- CAZPA, 1994 Standards for Animal Care and Housing
- EAZA, 1994 Standards for the accommodation and
care of animals in zoos
- Lawrence & Rushen, Stereotypic Behaviour, CAB
- The Zoo Inquiry 1995 World Society for the Protection
of Animals and Born Free Foundation
- Tufts University Centre for Animals 1995 discussion
paper by Jennifer Lewis on wildlife conservation,
zoos and animal protection
- Young. R. Dr., Environmental Enrichment: Management
and Devices--Edinburgh Zoo
- Zoo Licensing Act 1981, HMSO U.K.
- Zoo Licensing Act 1988, The Secretary of State's
standards of modern zoo practice
Author of Report
Dr John Gripper is a veterinarian
who has spent over 30 years in general practice in
the U.K. During this time he was a wildlife vet at
the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford, Oxfordshire.
He has been an appointed zoo inspector
in the U.K. since the Zoo Licensing Act came into operation
He is a Director for the World Society
for the Protection of Animals and a member of their
Zoo Task Force. He has advised WSPA on the construction
of bear sanctuaries in Greece and Turkey.
On behalf of WSPA and the Born Free
Foundation he has visited zoos in many countries around
the world including Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, Croatia,
Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Lithuania,
Monaco, Romania, Russia, Siberia, Slovakia, Sweden,
Taiwan, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, U.S.A. and Zimbabwe.
He is Chairman and founder of the
Sebakwe Black Rhino Trust which supports a free range
black rhino conservancy in the Midlands area of Zimbabwe.