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News Sixty per cent of Japanese animal cafes deal with restricted species

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Why is Japan, generally a country of pet lovers, lagging so far behind in animal welfare standards? Chicken farms, pet shops that are more of pet dungeons, animal testing, puppy farms, and animal cafes are just some examples of largely uncontested, socially accepted animal abuse. The only animal cafe I have ever visited was an owl cafe in eastern Tokyo, and it left me heartbroken. Owls (and many other species traded here in Japan) are not pets; seeing them vegetating in pet shops or animal cafes is sickening.

According to a recent study by several institutions, including France's Sorbonne University and the non-governmental organization Traffic, headquartered in Britain, 137 animal cafes (60% of all such outlets in Japan) deal with exotic species restricted by international trade laws.

The study found the cafes exhibited 419 different species and 3,793 individual animals, of which nine species and 53 animals were banned from being traded under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as CITES, due to their endangered status. They included the grey parrot and slow loris, a type of primate. Another 241 species and 2,498 individuals, including the fennec fox, require permission from the exporting country. Although the trade of some of the exotic animals may be prohibited, they can be purchased or sold if they were brought in before restrictions were implemented or if those bred in Japan are registered. Still, the study cautioned that some animals in cafes may have been trafficked from illegal wildlife trade, given no record of their trade in the CITES database and recent seizures of endangered primate species by Japanese customs.

By species, birds made up 62 percent of the total, of which 40 percent were owls. Reptiles and mammals comprised 21 percent and 15 percent, respectively, with amphibians making up 2 percent. The most common animal was the four-toed hedgehog, with 55 stores across Japan carrying 245 individuals, followed by the barn owl and northern white-faced owl. A total of 38 stores also sold the animals displayed in the cafe. Many of the owls were available for 200,000 to 600,000 yen ($1,500 to $4,400), while reptiles could be obtained relatively cheaply. The most expensive animal listed was a secretary bird for 3 million yen.



Freelance proofreader
26 Sep 2015
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If anyone is interested in helping improve the situation, a woman called Mina Martinez has an animal sanctuary in rural Chiba that takes on many of the animals rejected from petting cafes. According to her, animal smuggling into Japan is absolutely rife.
4 Jan 2023
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Why is Japan, generally a country of pet lovers,

Not only Japanese, but most people I find to be rather one-sided in their "love".

On another site I remarked that the otters kept in Japanese aquariums were probably not breeding, despite attempts to get them to, because being wrongfully imprisoned really sucks.

I got downvoted to hell for that. It just plain disgusts me how so many people cannot or will not see themselves and what they are doing as they pursue some more temporary "feel good" moments.
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