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the treatment of abandoned/stray dogs & cats in Japan
  • Hi all,

    Im still really new to this forum, but i would like to share this story with every1.
    As mentioned in my intro not long ago, i live in japan as my husband and 1 are stationed out here with the navy, its a interesting place to live and this is where we discovered the awesome japanese breeds.

    Japan is a cool place to live and i have nothing against this place or the people here, but the plight of animals here is just so sad.
    Animal cruelty exist everywhere in the world, i just want to share the story of animal cruelty in Japan.

    Ive been supporting 1 of the very few shelters in Japan, its called ARK, and the article below is courtesy of ARK.

    I know this is really lengthy, but i hope u guys wld take sometime to read it :)))


    Animals in japan
    It is hard to think of Japan as an Asian country. Anyone coming from the West would feel immediately at home. There is a well-maintained infra-structure of roads and railways, nearly everyone has (what looks like) a new car, people dress well, many in clothes brought from western fashion houses with expensive accessories. The shops are piled high in luxury goods and you can get anything you want, for a price. It is rare to see poverty or poor people, though they do exist, living in tents in city parks or in slum areas where ordinary Japanese never go. Visitors to Japan, who seldom stray beyond the tourist routes due to language barriers are overwhelmed by the efficiency, the friendliness and kindness of Japan's people and the safety and cleanliness of its cities. Despite the current recession, the country looks affluent in every aspect.

    But scratch a little below the surface and you'll find the Asian side of Japan. Despite their outward western appearance, the Japanese think and act very differently to the way we do. This is particularly true in their dealings with animals. There is no real focus of cruelty to animals in Japan, such as we find in the dog meat markets in South Korea and the Phillippines, or in the bears kept for bile on farms in China or the illegal trade of exotic species in Indonesia. Foreigners coming to Japan for a short time may not see any cruelty at all. Indeed if they stay around Tokyo, they would probably only see pure-bred pampered pooches, dressed up and walking along fashionable streets and therefore conclude that Japanese love their pets and take care of them the same as we do.

    With Japan's growing affluence in the 70s and 80s people wanted to leave their cramped apartments (dubbed ' rabbit hutches') and buy their own dream house 'my home-ism.' Of course if one had a house one also needed the accessories to go with it, and one of these accessories was a dog, but not just any dog, it had to be a fashionable one. So started the 'pet boom,' which is still flourishing today, though less than in the peak bubble years. These first time house owners also became first time dog owners, which meant they knew very little about how to keep a dog. The resulting booms were tragic in consequence, Huskies in particular. The Husky boom lasted about a couple of years when everyone had to have one. The Husky is totally unsuited to a cramped urban environment, they shed hair which hygiene-obsessive Japanese hate, they are difficult to train, and the Japanese climate with its very hot humid summers is torture to a dog bred of Arctic climes. As a result, Huskies soon filled the city gas-chambers to overflowing and the countryside was full of abandoned Huskies and their crosses. Nowadays Huskies have been replaced by the subsequent booms; Golden Retrievers, black Labradors, Border Collies, Welsh Corgies etc

    The breeding business
    The breeding and pet shop business is controlled primarily by gangsters which is why, needless to say, the authorities and police are reluctant to intervene, let alone take any positive action to control the trade. Britain is one country with pure-bred dogs Japanese want. Although both the Kennel Clubs of Britain and Ireland have warned breeders not to export to Japan, there are always back routes through third countries and there are always greedy breeders willing to sell to anyone who has money, which Japanese do. Many puppy farms in the depths of the UK countryside sell to Japan and since there is no quarantine for UK-originating animals, they can be flown straight in.

    Once in Japan these animals are used as breeding machines and since they are bred as young and as often as possible, they have a short life, often burnt out at a young age with rotten teeth and decrepit bodies from being kept in cramped cages away from sunlight their entire life. Once they fail to breed they are 'disposed of' in indescribably horrid ways. Indeed the pet shop business operates on a 10-20 % turnover, that is to say, they make a profit from selling about 10-20% while the remaining 80-90% that are unsaleable are 'disposed of' . Kittens and puppies are taken from the mothers at the age of one month, sold at auctions, often in faraway cities, brought by pets shops and sold to gullible customers. Of course they are stressed by this treatment and having no immunity often fall sick in the first few days they are brought home. If they die the pet shops will never return the money but may offer another as a replacement. Most of these animals are sold with forged pedigrees and there is no indication on the pedigree where that animal was born. While most pet shops have a bright interior to entice customers, the breeding establishments operating out of sight, are filthy, over-crowded and squalid. Some pet shops have cages outside where people are encouraged to dump their 'old dog' and replace it with a new puppy from inside the shop. These 'old dogs' are 'disposed of ' by the shop as a service to its customers. If pet shop animals remain unsold, the price is dropped as their size increases, until finally they fill the cage and are disposed of.
    The fate of 'disposed of' animals includes: killed on the premises, taken to the gas chambers of the hokensho, or sold to experiment labs.

    Authorities or laws to protect animals?
    There is no government department dealing with the welfare of animals. Pet animals like cats and dogs come under the Department of Health & Hygiene. The purpose of this department is to deal with public health matters and this includes the collection and disposal of stray animals. These animals are collected and disposed of in much the same way as public garbage. Dogs are the chief target since they may carry rabies and can bite. 'Professional' dog catchers are sent out to hunt down strays. Sometimes they put out traps or if they can corner a dog they will throw a wire noose around its neck and fling it up into a truck with other dogs. These trucks are seldom air-conditioned, nor are the dogs separated, so many animals end up badly mauled or dead. There are also 'dog posts' in some rural areas. Here unwanted dogs can be 'posted' i.e. shoved down a chute into a container below. Since the contents of the container can't be seen from outside, nobody knows what is inside; possibly old dogs, puppies, cats or kittens. Again one needs little imagination to picture the carnage inside. Some animals never reach the hokensho itself but are sold along the way to either breeders (in the case of nice-looking pure-breds) or to experimental labs. This provides pocket money for the dog catchers.

    Over 400,000 dogs and 300,000 cats are gassed in the hokensho of Japan every year.
    Over 73,000 pet dogs and 13,500 pet cats are used in laboratory experiments.

    Once the dogs have reached the hokensho they seldom leave unless an owner turns up to claim them . Some hokensho now operate Aigo Centres (Love Animal Centres) where puppies are given out for adoption but never adult dogs. They are kept in the hokensho from 3-5 days before being gassed. ( It can take upto 20 or 30 minutes for a dog to die, according to its size. In many hokensho the system is so automated that animals go directly from the gas chambers into the furnace at the press of a button, no one checks if they are dead or not.) Dogs which have bitten someone are kept two weeks (in case the dog develops rabies ) before being gassed. Some hokensho still use decompression or electrocution and until recently bludgeoning dogs to death was prevalent in rural areas. Although veterinarians are employed at the hokensho, they seldom touch animals, let alone check them and certainly never euthanize animals. People employed in catching, killing and disposal of bodies are specially contracted, and are not city or prefecture employees. Nowadays as hokensho become more 'modernized' , the whole system is automated and dogs do not need to be handled at all between entry and death, it is all done by computers and operators only need to press buttons. Easier for the operators but no improvement in conditions for the animals.

    conditions of pets in japan
    While we consider keeping our pets in the house as part of the family, Japanese differentiate between inside pets (shitsunai-ken) and outside ones. Little lap dogs such a Shih Tzu, Maltese, Mini Dax, Yorkies etc: are usually considered inside dogs while anything bigger is kept outside, though the trend is growing to keep all kinds of dogs indoors. Inside dogs are often pampered so much that they resemble toys rather than dogs; their hair is tied up in ribbons, sometimes dyed, they are fed choice snacks, they are carried rather than walked and they spend a lot of time at the beauty salon as well as having an array of fashion accessories to wear when they go out. Conversely, the same family may also keep an outside dog, as a guard dog (ban-ken). This dog is chained to a miserable kennel with no protection from heat or cold, is walked minimally, given cheap dog food, often the water bowl is empty. When the dog is sick it is seldom taken to a vet and only when it's stiff on the end of its chain do the owners called the authorities to take the body away and then they promptly go out and buy a new puppy.

    Walk along any street in Japan and you see house after house with chained dogs or dogs locked in tiny cages incredibly surviving as neglected unloved objects. Yet the Japanese think they are doing the right thing and to be told what they are doing is cruel either shocks or angers them. It is more a case of ignorance of a dog's needs than deliberate cruelty and part of the root cause of the problem is the attitude of the authorities and their dictum that all dogs should be chained.

    Japanese breeds of dogs, Shiba-inu *, Kishu (boar-hunting dogs) , Kai-ken *, Akita-ken, Ainu-ken and Japanese Spitz nearly all have the characteristics of stoism and gaman (able to endure) that Japanese admire, not surprisingly since they are chained and basically ignored all their life. Years of this treatment have bred into the Japanese dog a dislike of being handled too much. They cannot relax when cuddled as a western dog, they just tense up. They are also more aggressive and territorial than western breeds, more difficult to train, for example, as assistance dogs.
    Dog fighting, especially with Tosa dogs, is still prevalent in some rural areas, the location of the fights undisclosed except to those in the know. Tosa dogs are still bred and kept traditionally in Tosa, part of Kochi in south Shikoku. (Shikoku is also famous for bull-fighting and cock-fighting.)

    "Throwing animals away"
    Since Japan has no shelters, people wanting to get rid of their pet or who can no longer keep it, are faced with a dilemma. It is against their Buddhist beliefs to kill a living thing so they would never take their pet to be euthanized by a vet. Besides most vets refused to euthanize any animal, even though it may in in pain and suffering. If they take it to the hokensho they know it will be killed, which is then on their conscience. So they choose the only other option and abandon it, falsely hoping that it will survive on its own or that maybe some kind person will take it in.

    There are also unscrupulous people who prey on their guilt feeling by offering to take unwanted pets, for a fee, and find them a new home. They put flyers on utility poles and in mail boxes with no address, only a mobile telephone number. You would think that would send the alarm bells ringing in most people's mind but Japanese can be incredibly gullible.(*see Japanese character below) Often the exchange is carried out on a road side or at a highway rest area, money, about 30,000 yen ( 250 US $) exchanged for a cat or dog. If the dealer picks up ten animals a day, he has a nice little business and he make extra money by selling the animals on to laboratories or, even if he just dumps them somewhere, he hasn't lost out.

    Japanese are against the idea of neutering, because they feel it is going against nature or unnatural, but faced with a litter of puppies or kittens they have to do something. Usually they take them and dump them in mountains or on riverbanks with perhaps food, which newlyborn cannot eat. People feel they've done the right thing by returning these animals to nature. But nature rapidly takes its course. Either they die of exposure or dehydration or are pecked to death by crows. Of course you can guess what will happen if any do survive.

    Cats
    Japanese people are primarily 'dog' people. Perhaps it because dog people take their dog out for walks that we notice them more, unlike cat people who stay indoors. Cats were originally kept on farms to hunt mice, their appearance as pets is very recent. Japanese are very superstitious about cats, especially black cats with long tails. Long tails were considered bad luck so people would cut them off. Somehow nature got its revenge and many kittens are now born with short tails. With the decrease in feral/stray dogs, feral cats have increased enormously and have now reached epidemic proportions in urban areas where there is plenty of waste food and where kindly old women feed them. Since these women seldom take the responsible step of having these cats neutered, they proliferate to the annoyance of neighbours.

    Japanese houses are side by side, sometime inches apart and have very small or no gardens. There is nowhere for a cat to go out except into neighbourhood gardens, parks or onto streets. The risks to cats outside are very great; traffic accidents, poisoned by people who hate cats, or trapped by gangs that want cats for their skins.

    Animal control and protection law
    In 1973 the Japanese hastily put together a law called the Animal Protection and Control Law in time for the visit to Japan of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. They wanted to show the world they cared about the welfare of Japanese animals. This law however, dubbed the ' sieve law' was primarily designed to protect people from animals, not the other way around. It was totally ineffective, unknown (to authorities like the police) and therefore unenforceable. It had no definition of cruelty and the handful of truly terrible cases that have been prosecuted in nearly 30 years have been let off with a paltry 30,000 yen ( 250 US $) fine, less than one would get for stealing a bicycle.

    It was generally acknowledged by everyone that the 1973 law was in need of repeal so a coalition of over 100 animal groups joined together to begin planning and lobbying for this. However differences emerged within the coalition over what people wanted or expected. Some wanted experimental animals included in the new law. Getting a law before the Japanese Diet requires a lot of backroom lobbying of MPs from the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP). Since big business and politics go hand in hand in Japan, any talk of controlling the way pharmaceutical companies dealt with experimental animals was obviously an anathema to politians. In fact they said that unless the clause about experimental animals was dropped, they wouldn't co-operate at all. Unbeknown to the majority of coalition members, all of whom had paid a membership fee, secret negotiations took place between the 'well-known', well-in with the government' animal welfare groups and the LDP. They announced the new law (hardly debated) as passed, a fait accompli. Members of the coalition were furious at the way they had been passed over without any consultation. They were even more furious when they saw that the new law was virtually the same as the old one dressed up with a few cosmetic changes.

    The small changes include a name change from Protection and Control to Doubutsu Aigo (Love Animals) Protection and Control Law and a raising of fines for cruelty. The only redeeming feature of the new law is that it has to come up for revision within 5 years, so we have three years to go. Whether an effective revision can indeed be realized, depends on the unity of opinion among animal welfare groups and getting sympathetic politicians working on our side.

    Vet practice in Japan
    Veterinary practice in Japan has its roots in the treatment of farm animals, draught animals like horses and oxen and meat animals like cattle, pigs and poultry as well as horses used by the military. Small animal veterinary practices for pets like cats and dogs are comparatively recent. Indeed even today veterinary medicine is taught with the emphasis on farm animals. Animal welfare is not included in the curriculum.
    Veterinary medicine lags behind Europe and the United States and veterinary attitudes are very different. Many veterinarians become vets because they fail to become doctors, some are actually frightened of animals and some have pretty dubious practices. Due to the high cost of land in Japan, especially in cities, veterinary clinics are usually very small and many vets practice alone with the help of their wife, who is most likely a former veterinary technician. Because they have had to pay out so much for land, buildings and equipment they must recoup this money by charging exorbitant fees. Medicine is sometimes 30 times higher than it would be in Europe and the States. For example neutering costs can range from 20,000 to 50,000 yen (167 - 416 US $) , routine vaccinations 6000 - 10,000 yen ( 50 - 84 US$). This means that many people avoid taking their pet for treatment, because of the high cost. As with human doctors in Japan, people are reluctant to question what treatment is being given, what medicine, what is the prognosis of the disease/illness etc: and Japanese vets seldom offer explanation, nor do they give advice on general health care. They are also, with rare exception unwilling to euthanize any animal, however much it is in pain or suffering. Probably this again stems from the Buddhist reluctance to interfere in the course of nature and to take life. Some vets are actually against neutering for the same reason.
  • You know I never really thought of a place like Japan to be that 'new' to animal protection laws. I truely hope the Nihon ken people bring home from Japan are not from the types of people that would 'throw away' a dog. That is very sad to hear.
  • baantonbaanton
    Posts: 933
    Ling: Thanks for sharing this information. Awareness helps spur action. My daughter spent a couple weeks in Japan last spring, and she commented on the appalling conditions in the pet shops in Tokyo and other cities. That was only the tip of the iceberg, I guess.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Thank you for posting this. The article really brings everything into perspective in regards as to how the different cultures regard animals. I knew conditions were bad from the limited stories I have been told by American breeders visiting breeding operations in Japan, but this is absolutely terrible. I really have to admire those qualities in our nihonken that have allowed them to endure hundreds/thousands of years of what I would consider to be downright neglect. Yet still, they are amazing dogs in the end and embody the Samuri spirit, and are perhaps more deserving of it than any person."Common sense isn't so common"
  • DjinnDjinn
    Posts: 161
    I'm really surprised that this came from ARK, could you share a link? There are some glaring errors and gross generalisations that I wouldn't have expected from them.
    Realistically, anything that starts with "It is hard to think of Japan as an Asian country…people dress well" should set off alarm bells. Anything that has sweeping and patronising statements like 'THEY don't love animals like WE do' is going to have to work hard to gain my confidence.

    Japanese people describe Japan as a nation of animal lovers. Japan was the first country in the world to outlaw cruelty to animals, back in the nineteenth century, although the definitions were quite narrow. Japan’s first animal welfare organisation was founded in 1902.

    Yes, there have been booms surrounding specific breeds that resulted in horrible things. The same thing happens elsewhere. Sydney had a husky boom with similar results in the 1990s. Puppy mills are horrific and prevalent. This is also true of many other countries, including the US.

    “There is no government department dealing with the welfare of animals. Pet animals like cats and dogs come under the Department of Health & Hygiene. The purpose of this department is to deal with public health matters and this includes the collection and disposal of stray animals.”

    This is simply untrue. Domestic animal matters are dealt with at the city level, which may be why she is confused. My city hall has an animal division that organises registration, subsidises rabies vaccinations, offers free obedience classes twice a year and also holds adoption evens for dogs and cats in the city shelter. They also run awareness campaigns including posters for schools highlighting the number of animals that get abandoned every year.

    “Over 73,000 pet dogs and 13,500 pet cats are used in laboratory experiments.”
    Again, horrific, but hardly unique to Japan or evidence of unique Japanese cruelty.

    “Some hokensho now operate Aigo Centres (Love Animal Centres) where puppies are given out for adoption but never adult dogs. They are kept in the hokensho from 3-5 days before being gassed.”

    My local shelter attempts to place all dogs and cats regardless of age. The standard holding period in Kyushu is seven days, but may be extended for more “adoptable” pets. Some shelters also have community fostering programs.

    “This dog is chained to a miserable kennel with no protection from heat or cold, is walked minimally, given cheap dog food, often the water bowl is empty. When the dog is sick it is seldom taken to a vet and only when it's stiff on the end of its chain do the owners called the authorities to take the body away and then they promptly go out and buy a new puppy.”

    Common, horrible, and again common in a lot of other countries too.

    “They are also more aggressive and territorial than western breeds”
    Seriously? I’m not even…

    “Since Japan has no shelters, people wanting to get rid of their pet or who can no longer keep it, are faced with a dilemma. It is against their Buddhist beliefs to kill a living thing so they would never take their pet to be euthanized by a vet.”

    Japan does have shelters. Few Japanese people are religiously Buddhist as opposed to culturally Buddhist. There aren’t a lot of vegetarians here and fishing is a popular sport. Yes, no-one wants to bludgeon their cat in the back yard. Not sure this is related to race, religion or nationality. There are a lot of abandoned pets and it is a terrible thing. Some people re-home pets they can’t take care of any more. Some people return their dog to the breeder- our contract with our breeder specifically requires that we do this if we become unable to care for our dogs. Animal dumping is common, it is undoubtedly bad, but I have real issues with this Orientalist narrative in which it is related to exotic religious beliefs or a lack of empathy in “those people”.

    “Usually they take them and dump them in mountains”
    Usually they give them to friends and family members, or sell them to pet shops. Hell, anyone can make a statement that begins in “usually”, it’s meaningless without something other than your own conjecture to back it up. Maybe “they” actually “usually” sacrifice the kittens on a full moon.

    “Animal welfare is not included in the curriculum.”
    I highly doubt that.

    “Veterinary medicine lags behind Europe and the United States and veterinary attitudes are very different.”
    I haven’t noticed anything of the sort.

    “Medicine is sometimes 30 times higher than it would be in Europe and the States. For example neutering costs can range from 20,000 to 50,000 yen (167 - 416 US $)”
    Kuri’s spay was done laparoscopically and cost about $500. Hayate’s neutering cost barely anything. Japan has extremely affordable animal health insurance, making it much cheaper for us to get treatment in Japan than in Australia. I don’t know if “many people avoid taking their pet for treatment” or not (how could you possibly know what people aren’t doing?), but my vet is always packed and there is a vet every second block. Since few people are keeping oxen around here, someone must be going to them.

    “Many vets practice alone with the help of their wife, who is most likely a former veterinary technician.”
    Wait, she knows about vets’ love lives now too? And how is this relevant again?

    “Japanese vets seldom offer explanation, nor do they give advice on general health care.”
    My vet offers extensive advice on training, feeding, crating, preventative health and so on. He always explains what is going on and asks which option we want to pursue. And no, he is not a special “western trained” vet, he’s just the closest one and he doesn’t speak English.

    In short:
    There are many animal welfare issues in Japan, as in other countries, and I hope that the activities of the many Japanese animal welfare groups are able to bring about greater awareness of these issues. But generalising from what sounds like limited experiences to suggest that these experiences characterise all of Japan because “they” don’t think like “we” do and it’s all the fault of Buddhism is absurd and frankly pretty racist.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    @Djinn Nice job breaking this apart. I didn't see the post when it was first posted, but I found myself balking at many of the generalizations, as well.

    This kind of frame that demonizes so-called "traditional" Asian perspectives on animals, and then credits any progress in animal welfare to so-called "Western" influence, is sadly all too common in the way people talk about animals in Asia. The issues are much, much more complex than that, as you demonstrate...
    image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171

    @Djinn Nice job breaking this apart. I didn't see the post when it was first posted, but I found myself balking at many of the generalizations, as well.

    This kind of frame that demonizes so-called "traditional" Asian perspectives on animals, and then credits any progress in animal welfare to so-called "Western" influence, is sadly all too common in the way people talk about animals in Asia. The issues are much, much more complex than that, as you demonstrate...



    I agree. When I saw that first part, about it is "hard to think of Japan as an Asian country" my back was up immediately. Racist assumptions, anyone? Because the implication is that Asia does not equal modern, and also the assumption is that Asian=cruel to animals. The problems with this article go way beyond the wrong-headed assumptions about animals in Japan (and the insults to breeds we all supposedly love, again based on overgeneralizations and wrong assumptions), but the entire article is offensive in that it is based on that very tired "missionary" sort of attitude that says oh, we (superior) westerners have to go in and "civilize" the natives.

    I saw some cruelty to animals in Japan when I lived there. I saw animals cramped in pet stores or chained dogs. I also have seen that in the US. I also saw people who set up feeding stations for feral cats, including umbrellas and little shelters. I saw people who loved their animals too. Also, while there are bad breeders in Japan, there are also equally bad breeders in the US, and in the US, our government licenses people to breed dogs like cattle, with no real regard for the animal's welfare (just check out the puppy mill forums). So I find this article seriously problematic in tone, and frankly, why blame Japan for problems with animal welfare when we have the same problems in this country? I'd like to see it stop everywhere, (cruelty to animals) but in the meantime, I have no patience for these kind of articles, and if the ARK did in fact publish this, then I am sorry I ever sent them any money, and I will not do so again.
  • BearsDadBearsDad
    Posts: 167
    Seems as though we are not much better in the U.S., we have our fair share of BYB and puppy mills. Dog fights are terribly popular, people leave pets chained to trees their entire life and as the number of rescues and pound over crowding proves, many view pets as a vanity item, same as a pair of shoes or a fancy cars, they keep them as long as is convenient for them then they abandon them.

    I have a problem with the way this article portrays the Japanese, seems as though they are classifying a whole country and culture as a bunch of crewed, animal hating people. I can assure you that is not the case, look at the Shiba, considered as a national treasure in Japan.

    Sure they have their fair share of people who are cruel to animals, but what country does not?

    Animals do not recognize our established borders, it should not be a competition to determine which country treats their pets the best. Every country has its issues with controlling cruel treatment of animals, we should not be bashing each other, but rather working together to figure out the best way to keep animals out of the hands of those that will abuse them.
  • The idea that Asia is not modern is weird to me. I mean, obviously it's a huge place but Japan has always (by which I mean at least the past 50 years) been super technologically advanced. Seriously, I remember reading about how technology that was super rare and new here was already ubiquitous in Japan a few years ago and I've always just sort of gotten the impression that Japanese tech is better than ours (and I've always been jealous about it because, well, it's cool). China is no slouch on technology either. Much like here, it's pretty much everywhere unless you go out into rural areas. It's not exactly like Asia is full of third world countries, you know?

    Also, I definitely get the impression that when they say Asia, they mean East Asia and are totally forgetting that Russia, the middle east, India, etc are in Asia. Frankly, Asia is a hard place to generalize, I think. It's a huge continent. Saying all of Asia is a particular way is like saying that all of Africa is embroiled in civil wars.

    The only thing I can say about the Japanese and dogs is that I get the impression that overall pets are treated really well, like part of the family, babied, etc and that they very much share an attitude with America about pets as a part of the family. Obviously it's not universal there but then it's not universal here either. And frankly I suspect the differences are more urban v. rural than East Asian v. Western.

    I can also say that I do think, though, that the breeding situation is worse. Not because I don't think that there are Japanese breeders that care about their animals, but just because it's been my impression (and I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong) that you can't find a breeder in Japan that does health clearances. I have to say that, for me, that would keep me from ever going through a Japanese breeder even if I had the know how (and I don't, not even close).
  • RhondabeeRhondabee
    Posts: 175
    Yes, when I read this, it seemed that all the statements made about Japan could be also true for the USA, especially in the rural areas. In my city of St. Louis, animal control is also under the city department of health and of course many cities here have dog catchers. In the rural area where I grew up there was and still is the same attitude about small dogs being inside dogs and large dogs being outside dogs. Almost none of that is unique to Japan, except for the statement about petshops allowing people to dump their old dogs with them.
  • mkiamkia
    Posts: 24
    Wow! Speaking as someone who is part Japanese, this article came across as somewhat racist and hateful. Maybe I am taking it too seriously? My whole family loves animals and tries to provide the best for them, no matter cat, dog, rabbit, fish, they are members of the family. In fact my almost 90 year grandma spoils the family pets the most, and she is extremely traditionally Japanese. Alot of Japanese beliefs stem from buddism, as the article mentioned, which requires a respect for all life. It has always been my opinion that Japanese, just as any other people, love and treasure their pets as family members.

    I did notice alot of obvious mis-information in the article, unfortunately, I'm not well informed about Japanese laws to correct every thing. One of the big things that stood out was that "Japanese people are primarily 'dog' people." That actually make me laugh just because I would actually think of that the other way around. Japanese art has so many images of cats, and think of all the cute Japanese cat videos, not to mention its easier to keep a cat as a pet in a small apartment.

    I do feel that pet stores are an issue in Japan, with the cramped conditions, poor environment for animals, not to mention that there are many exotic animals sold that should not be in a pet store. This article was just confusing with its negative tone and misinformation to properly highlight real issues with animal welfare in Japan.
  • This sounds more like a description of Russia than Japan! I have visited Japan and in my time I have seen TWO stray cats. Many Japanese people were fond of these cats and did everything they can to support the stray cats (this was in Tokyo, so a lot of people cannot have pets at home anyways). My step-son is Japanese too; he lives in Tokyo. He loves cats and wants to kidnap mine! I've met so many Japanese people that love their animals, even some complain about how 'inhumane' cat cafes are because they hate the idea of a cat being disturbed from it's slumber!

    I'm sure there are cases of horrible people in Japan but there are cases of horrible people everywhere in the world. We had a recent case here in Estonia of some stupid people who decided to throw and kill pups from a highway (bastards the lot of them) - they didn't get caught and a lot of people here were extremely upset over it. I know that if we ever discovered who these people were they would never show their face(s) here ever again.

    As for shelters. ALL shelters have a kill rate. This is why it's not extremely popular to open strictly 'non-kill' shelters.

    Anyways, my impression of Japan was that they loved animals. Absolutely adored them. This is very general information that happens all over the world (sadly). Hopefully we will work better to overcome animal cruelty EVERYWHERE.
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  • http://thebarkpost.com/worlds-first-luxury-dog-retirement-home-opening-in-japan/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post

    1) Japan passed a law that dog owners must keep their dogs until death. AWESOME.

    2) I think I found my next business venture. It sounds like a TON of fun!

    3) There is no way this is profitable, so I should be doing this in retirement, right?

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