Many Asian animal protection groups sent the following letter to Japanese government.
7 Oct 2002
Mr Takeo Hiranuma
Minister of Economy,Trade and Industry
Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau,
Agriculture and Marine Products Office
Mr Shunichi Suzuki
Minister of the Environment
Nature Conservation Bureau,Wild Life Division,
Law and Convention Office
Minister of Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries
Agricultural Production Bureau,
Livestock Industry Department,Animal Health Division
PLEASE STOP IMPORTING ASIAN ELEPHANTS INTO JAPAN
We are writing on behalf of (name of your group) which is an animal welfare/conservation (delete accordingly) organisation in (name your country). We would like to strongly urge for the Japanese Government to stop the import of four Asian elephants from India and Thailand to Japan in October 2002 for the following reasons:
* We understand that the origin of the elephants with regards to whether they are captive bred (as defined by CITES) is unclear.
* While CITES permits wild elephants to be imported
for “scientific study”, two of the elephants are supposedly destined for “Elephant Country in Ichihara” which is a profit-motivated entity leasing out animals for entertainment. This clearly is not for “scientific study”.
* Breeding in captivity is now sometimes used as
a convenient excuse for “scientific study”. No Asian elephants have
been bred in captivity in Japan. Furthermore, we believe that the
study of elephants should ideally be in the wild, not in captivity
where they cannot exhibit their natural behaviours.
* Foot and mouth disease breaks out fairly regularly in Thailand. To prevent such outbreaks in Japan, elephants from Thailand should not be imported. In August, Croatia refused the import of elephants from Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka has also been affected by this highly infectious disease.
* We have been informed that the elephants are being given to Ueno zoo as a gift. Animals are not commodities to be given as gifts, especially wild animals who have to live out several decades in captivity.
* Both the facilities about to receive the elephants have small enclosures. Elephants roam many miles in the wild each day and have complex social and emotional lives. In captivity, they are denied these and suffer from severe mental disorders.
We urgently request for the Japanese government to take a progressive stand and not allow the import of these wild elephants and curb such imports in future.
We stand with other animal protection groups world-wide, in the hope of receiving positive news on this matter. Thank you.
(Name & Designation)