This is the proposed schedule of the Japanese Government’s Amendment Plan on the Welfare and Management of Animals Act. It would seem that it is all laid out and that the changes that need to be made will be made. Let’s all hope that the same thing that happened to the changes that needed to be made do not have the same fate as before. If you aren’t familiar with what occurred before, there is an article on this site. “Japan’s Animal Protection and Control Law and the backroom dealings of the Politicians that made it ineffectual.”
[Ministry of The Environment]
Amendment Plan of Act on Welfare and Management of Animals
In June 2010, Ministry of The Environment has announced the amendment schedule for the Animal Act. The amendment plan covers almost all the issues that ALIVE has addressed and urged them to adopt for a long time. We expect that the amended act will be able to change the circumstance of animals in Japan greatly.
The Amendment Schedule (Source: Ministry of The Environment)
· The working group tasked with making the amendments was established: Review the descriptions of issues, set priority and schedules, etc.
· Concerned parties will gather and conduct hearings: Animal welfare and protection organizations, people from the pet industry.
September to November:
“Appropriate animal handling businesses”
· Selling animals till late at night: Prohibit the selling of animals late at night
· Business hour: Regulate business hours, exhibiting time and break times, etc.
· Mobile pet shops: Regulate pet businesses that do not have a shop etc.
· Selling animals on the Internet: Regulate the internet pet shops, etc.
· Selling unweaned dogs and cats: Regulate the age at which animals can be sold in order to stop the selling of unweaned animals.
· Setting restrictions on breeding age: Regulate breeding age and frequency, etc.
· Regulating facilities: Regulate the size of animal cages, etc.
· Concerned parties will gather and conduct hearings: Animal cemetery or crematoriums businesses, zoos and aquariums, etc.
November to January:
Small Working Committee
· Adding more services that animal cemeteries and crematoriums can offer: Cremation, burial, exotic animals and fish for aquarists, animals in experiments, elderly dogs, animal shelters etc.
· Special considerations such as zoos or aquariums, etc.
· Implementing a licensing system: Change to a licensing system from the registration system.
· Violating animal related laws : Penalties for violating related laws, cancellation or revocation of the licenses.
· Enforcement of the penalties for violations: Enforce current regulations and registration cancellation for violations of laws.
· Relaxing the requirement of animal handling businesses training: Training length, frequency, special consideration for zoos and aquariums etc.
· Relaxing the duties of business operators: When selling small animals, except dogs and cats, the business operator’s responsibilities are to be be relaxed.
· “Mid-Term Report” concerning Appropriate animal handling businesses.
· Concerned parties will gather and conduct hearings. (local governments)
March to April:
“Prevention of Animal Abuse”
• Set definition of “animal abuse”: Sentences to Article 44, such as “violence that causes physical injuries etc.” need to be added.
• Judicial Police Involvement: Local government inspection, temporary custody of animals, etc.
• Working with related organizations: Animal protection organizations, police, animal welfare promoters etc.
• Prohibit dog fights: Dog fighting, cockfighting, bull fighting, any forms of animal fighting.
“Registration system when keeping a lot of animals at one place”
• Registration requirement, when keeping more than 10 dogs, and enforce the Rendering Plant Control Act.
• Appropriate animal handling: Cracking down on inappropriate handling, on-site inspections enforcement and procedures, warnings and orders issued to violators.
“ Local Government Facilities”
• Standardize animal facilities: Set standards for the facilities, handling procedures etc.
• Destroying method of unwanted dogs and cats: Euthanize without pain and suffering, etc.
• Set rules for accepting unwanted dogs and cats: Set restrictions, when accepting animals from pet business handlers, etc.
Small Working Committee
· Will continuing discussions on various issues.
· Concerned parties will gather and conduct hearings: Animal experimenters, researchers and veterinarians, etc.
May to September:
• Review of the regulations: Identify scientific names of animals and include the names in the laws, review the selection processes and methods and review the kinds of animals that are categorized as “specified animals.”
• Dangerous kinds of dogs: Including pit bulls in the Specified Animals category?
• Crossbreds to be considered: Crossbreds between Specified Animals should be included.
• Transporting Specified Animals: The method and process should be simplified.
“Welfare of Animals in Experiments”
· Set regulations: Implement registration and licensing of animal experiments.
· Promote 3Rs : Replacement, Refinement and Reduction.
· Five Freedoms: Make sure to include Five Freedoms in the law, revise standards of handling livestock.
Current regulations should be enforced: e.g. 3 years imprisonment, penalty for individuals up to 3,000,000 yen, penalty for the businesses to 100,000,000 yen, etc.
· Make it mandatory to install microchips in dogs and cats.
· Make it mandatory to neuter and spay dogs and cats.
· Regulate and manage the breeding of stray cats.
· Regulate and set appropriate care standards for school pets / animals.
· Report and updates from the working group(plan) and discussions.
· Report and updates from the small committee will be issued to the Welfare and Management of Animals Group at the Central Environmental Council.
· Amended act will be drafted.
February to March:
· The amended act draft will be submitted to the Diet.
April to June:
· Promulgate the amended act.
· The Draft of Ministerial Ordinance will be submitted to Central Environmental Council. (After being promulgated, the Council will be discussed)