Katsushika Ward Councilman Calls for Cage-Free School Lunches

On November 30, 2022, Kayoko Natsume, a ward assembly member, asked a general question about animal welfare at a regular meeting of the ward assembly of Katsushika Ward, Tokyo. The question covered three items: the first was about TNR of community cats and the subsidy system, the second was about evacuation with pets. And third, she spoke about the introduction of cage-free egg feeding. Citing the trend of eliminating cage keeping in the EU and the Cabinet Office cafeteria’s cage-free program as examples, she said that Katsushika Ward should also work on this as part of the SDGs and set a good example for society. She stated “Cage-free chicken rearing…

Achievements and Progress in 2022

Though it’s yet to be seen since we have two more months to go, 2022 will be a year of great success for the Animal Rights Center in light of animal welfare in the agriculture field. These achievements will carry us forward into a new era, but we’d like to first cover our history of dialogues with stakeholders in this article.  Our history of Company Engagement in animal welfare In the era of Sustainable Development Goals(SDG), the Animal Rights Center has been working closely with corporations while hoping we can ultimately change their producers’ actions indirectly.  As a part of our ongoing efforts to minimize animal suffering, the Animal Rights…

MAFF Committee discusses male chick culling for the first time

On November 8th 2022, Genki Sudo councilor raised a question at the diet session in regards to male chicks who get killed just a day after they were born. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) response to his particular question about the number of male chickens killed in Japan was quite intriguing: “We have no statistics to show how many male chickens are born and slaughtered specifically. That said, Japan Poultry Breeders and Hatcheries Association estimates there were about 110,000,000 hens produced in 2021 so I would guess there were about the same number of male chicks.“ Supposedly 110 million birds are born to just get culled but…

Companies and Shops Newly Added to “The List of Cage-Free”

More companies agree with “cage-free eggs” initiatives. What is the cage-free egg declaration? It means that companies publicize their intention to switch all of their eggs to cage-free ones. This is being carried out by lots of companies worldwide. Companies publicizing the cage-free egg declaration are now more than 180 in Japan, the number being expected to increase in future. Battery cage rearing, a typical industrial livestock rearing method that cause serious environmental pollution, is considered so inhumane that it is being discontinued in international communities. For further details, see here “What is cage-free?” and “Definitions of the Cage-free Policy corporations should establish” *Kioritei(Shibuya-ward) A ramen noodle shop in Shibuya-ward,…

Good news!!! STOF、 bedsidedrama、ZECHIA、MAKER’S SHIRT KAMAKURA, become fur free!

Kaidansha Inc., which has brands such as STOF and bedsidedrama, Parallel Earth Inc. of ZECHIA, and Maker’s Shirts Kamakura Co., Ltd. have newly joined fur-free companies! All these companies are and will not deal in animal fur. STOF and bedsidedrama of Kaidansha have never dealt with real fur in the past and are consciously dealing with eco-fur. The STOF brand concept is “clothes with a story”, in which the story of being kind to animals is also hidden. ZECHIA Parallel Earth has been at the forefront of ethical and sustainable apparel trends, launching an earth-friendly brand line since 2011. We believe that Maker’s Shirt Kamakura always a choice for business…

On the World Day for Farmed Animals: Appeal the current situation of animals from Shibuya, Iwate, and Shiga

On October 2, 2022, World Day for Farmed Animals, we partnered with the Animal Rights Center Iwate and Shiga to carry out simultaneous actions in three locations across the country. During the day, we held animal rights workshops in Shibuya, Shiga and online, followed by a demonstration in Shibuya, Shiga and Iwate at the same time. Approximately 50 animal rights activists from across Japan attended the workshop. After the lecture, participants asked many questions and their enthusiasm for their activities came through clearly.We’ realized, once again, that a lot of activists are doing their best to protect animals through trial and error. At the demonstration in Shibuya, we, with around…

Incredibly overcrowded breeding space – layer poultry farms in Japan

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals stipulates, as a penalty, that to drain or weaken an animal by raising it or to keep it in a place where the density of breeding is clearly insufficient. However this regulation is not functioning and abnormally overcrowded rearing is rampant across Japan. While meat chicken farms are also extremely crowded compared to global standards, on this article we will explain the abnormal breeding environment of laying hens in Japan. Rearing density of Japan’s layer poultry farms The rearing densty practiced in Japan’s largest egg producer, (which went bankrupt and filed for corporate reorganization in 2022), is 285cm2 per bird. It’s 15cm×19cm.…

Should animals be given legal status?

Koichi HOSOKAWA, Professor, Japan Women’s University More and more people consider pets to be family members. The term “companion animal” is also becoming more common. On the other hand, abuse and abandonment of pets and ill-treatment in the pet industry are often in the news.  If you kill or injure someone else’s animal, you can be punished under criminal law for damaging property. However, this provision does not apply if the animal’s owner does the same. It is a crime to destroy someone else’s property, and animals are simply treated as property. The crime of damaging property is punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of…

Worldwide campaign for cage-free – its first target in Asia is a Japanese company

[The campaign ended when we made Toridoll Holdings stand at the starting point for animal welfare.]Hens are left in cages in Japan, while they are released globally, what does that tell us? On September 3, 2022, Toridoll Holdings Corporation(THC), based in Tokyo, Japan and running fast food restaurant chains such as Marugame Seimen (chain of noodle shops), announced on the website their timeline and stance for switching eggs from caged to cage-free. The announcement was released just after the global campaign for the protection of egg-laying hens was launched by Open Wing Alliance (OWA), a global alliance to free laying hens from cages with more than 90 member organizations from…

“One Step Ahead of Delicious” Ramen Restaurant Mugen is 100% Cage Free

Ramen restaurant “Chukasoba Mugen” in Osaka officially announced eggs used in their restaurants are 100% cage free. Chukasoba Mugen which has been listed in the Michelin Guide in a row, only uses cage-free eggs from WABISUKE Co., Ltd. Unlike general large- scale cage breeding in Japan, this poultry produces eggs only from cage-free which is friendly to both people and hens. WABISUKE’s laying hens can bathe in the sand as much as they want, drink water, and eat at any time, 24 hours a day. Today, information on the world is readily available to anyone, and many consumers are concerned that animal welfare in Japan is much lower than in other countries. In spite of…

Petition Filed: Hogs Starved to Death in Ehime

On July 28th 2022, we filed petitions to the Saijo Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution in regards to the case in which hogs were starved to death. We collected petitions from experts to send it over to the prosecutor in Saijo after the indictment for this case was suspended. The details of the case can be found here. So far, we have collected petitions from 27,406 individuals and we’re continuing to receive more.  Opinions received from experts  The following experts shared their opinions as we submitted the petitions: *alphabetical order   Seiichi Kushida, a member of the House of Councilors of Japan Aya Sugimoto, the president of Animal Welfare Organization,…

82.8% of people will not buy fur in the future: Result of awareness survey on fur

From June to July 2022, the Animal Rights Center conducted an awareness survey on fur (animal fur). As a result, 82.8% of people answered that they would not buy fur in the future. In addition, the characteristics by age and gender are also prominent, and although men in their teens have the coldest attitude toward animals, women in their teens are second to be kind to animals, following those over 60 years old. In other age groups, there is no difference in trends between men and women, but teens seem to have different values. It is also clear that females generally have a kinder attitude towards animals, while males, especially…

56,000 pigs Killed in two months in a farm in Tochigi

56,000 pigs Killed in two months in a farm in Tochigi  The fourth case of Swine fever was detected on July 23rd 2022 in Tochigi prefecture. The news reported that this was the biggest case in Japan as approximately 56,000 pigs would be culled. There have been 83 Swine fever cases, including this latest one, and 353,852 pigs will have been killed in Japan. This is as many as the population in Iwaki city of Fukushima prefecture, Kawagoe city of Saitama prefecture, or Takatsuki city of Osaka prefecture.  We have been dealing with Swine fever by culling these affected pigs so far, but should we continue to take these innocent…

Don’t use Pacoma to Kill Animals

In June 2022, we learned horses were killed by getting disinfectant, Pacoma, injected without anesthesia at Kasamatsu Racecourse in Gifu. With this information, we submitted a demand letter to improve this situation to the Gifu Prefectural Racing Association, the governor Yoshida, and the National Association of Racing. On June 30th, we received their response.  Gifu prefecture replied that they had requested Kasamatsu Racecourse to make a change, to which  Kasamatsu Racecourse responded with the following new policies:   Horses will be administered an analgesic to get sedated first, then, will move forward with the procedure while administering anesthesia as well as a muscle relaxant drug.  The entire procedure from stunning to…

The egg industry corruption case – Mr. Akita and former agriculture minister Yoshikawa both found guilty, but problems continue

The court’s ruling of the bribery case, in which the former CEO of the leading egg company AKITA Foods had bribed the then Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshikawa to lower the standards of animal welfare, has become final and binding. They were both found guilty and rightly so. See here for related articles including an overview of the case. (As for the contents of the court’s ruling, please search news articles) We must not end with just 2 guilty people Is this the conclusion of the case? Having been witnessing absurdity of the poultry industry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) since around 2018, before…

Corporate animal welfare procurement standards, slowly but gradually

Animal welfare progress by companies in Japan is far behind that of the rest of the world. This is apparent both in the Ethical Report Card of Companies that ARCJ participates in the rating of and in the ranking conducted by an evaluator for overseas investors. However, efforts for animal welfare are steadily progressing in Japan as well. Of course, what are driving this trend are the voices of consumers and citizens, and citizens’ groups like us who negotiate with companies with those voices on our back, and recently, consumer groups are participating in this movement as well. Let’s take a look at the situations of companies, though it is…

Ministry of the Environment definition: Making animals fight is illegal

Cockfighting is illegal. As soon as 2 male gamecocks are placed in a pen, it can be illegal. On 2022/4/28, Shizuka Terata questioned the illegality of cockfighting at the House of Councilors Environment Committee. “Regarding Article 44, Paragraph 2, whose penal provisions have been tightened by the recent amendment, I think that making gamecocks fight itself may fall under the item of making a protected animal perform an act that may cause physical injury unreasonably, and is subject to the penalties of the Act on Welfare and Protection of Animals. I would like to ask the opinion of the Ministry of the Environment.” In response to this, Director Okuda of…

Animal Welfare Award 2022: winners announced

We’re announcing the Animal Welfare Award winners for FY2021. Animal Welfare Award (AWA) is an award annually selecting and giving thanks to companies that consider animals and work on animal welfare in Japan which is lagging behind the world in terms of animal welfare for livestock and aquatic animals. In the view of Animal Rights Center Japan that works to protect livestock animals in Japan, efforts resulting in the biggest impacts have been recognized. Please see the results below:

METI recognizes the importance of animal welfare

On 2022/4/7, at the House of Councilors Economic and Industrial Committee, Representative Kiyoshi Adachi brought up animal welfare as one of the challenges for Japan’s economy. Actually this is the first time that farm animal welfare has been brought up by the Economic and Industrial Committee. From this, we can see that the discussion on economics and business was completely omitted from the discussion of animal welfare in Japan. Mr. Kiyoshi Adachi cited “creation of corporate value” and “branding of Japanese food” as reasons for taking up animal welfare at the Economic and Industrial Committee. He asked how we should tackle animal welfare in the context of ESG investment and…

Can’t the Agriculture Ministry change? – Animal Welfare Committee met behind closed doors

Following the investigation report after a scandal in the egg industry, their first information exchange session about animal welfare was held. As this investigation report mentions the importance of improving transparency of the government office, this is a great way to rebuild citizens’ trust in the government. As this article explains, there was a history where some officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) were entertained by Akita Foods where they were incentivized to lower the bar for animal welfare standards. As a result, the officers made decisions without consulting the opinions by the committee of experts.  Despite this, the information exchange session was held behind closed…