Animal welfare: Pet problems


Is it necessary to euthanise 270,000 cats and dogs a year? graph of japanese statisticsThe Cabinet Office Japan released the results of a survey last month into animal welfare. Note that the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals mentioned later in the survey has an official English translation, if you’re interested in that.


Between the 2nd and 12th of September 2010 3,000 people over the age of 20 chosen at random from resident registers were approached to complete a face-to-face questionnaire. 1,939 people were available and completed the survey, a response rate of 64.6%. 54.8% of the sample were male, 9.2% in their twenties, 16.1% in their thirties, 16.5% in their forties, 17.1% in their fifties, 21.2% in their sixties, and 19.9% aged seventy or older.

I remember as a child my brother (or it could have been me…) drawing a picture of what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he chose to be in charge of the euthanasia section of the local pound.

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals is pretty tame; the average Japanese pet shop has cages stacked two or three high giving dogs little space to stand, let alone play. They get put on display after about six weeks, so don’t get weaned properly, and there are persistant rumours that if they get past their sell-by date of around five months or so, they get sent back to the breeder for “disposal”.

Research results

Q3: What do you think are the good points about keeping an animal as a pet? (Sample size=1,939, multiple answer)

Brings a rich and warm lifestyle61.4%
Family becomes harmonious55.3%
Enriches children’s growth47.2%
Fun to bring up31.6%
Useful for anti-crime, minding the house25.7%
Comforting to old folk24.7%
Can deepen human relationships through a pet23.8%
Can become friends18.0%
Fun to breed1.9%
Nothing in particular7.3%
Don’t know0.7%

Q4: What kinds of bother have you felt from other people’s pets? (Sample size=1,939, multiple answer)

Not tidying up dog poo, other bad manners from the owner55.9%
Cats peeing, pooing in the garden37.8%
Noisy crying31.7%
Dog running freely around28.8%
Being bitten, otherwise injured19.1%
Bad smells18.5%
Worries about parasites, infections from pets12.3%
Nothing in particular15.8%
Don’t know0.7%

Q5: For various reasons people become unable to look after their pets. What do you think is best to do in such a case? (Sample size=1,939, multiple answer)

Search for a new owner65.9%
Pass it over to an animal welfare organisation52.0%
Pass it over to a council animal control centre30.3%
Let it loose in the wild1.7%
Don’t know3.0%

Q6: Every year local government facilities receive about 110,000 dogs and 200,000 cats. Due to being unable to find a new owner, etc, 90% are put down. What do you think of this? (Sample size=1,939)

It is necessary55.8%
It is not necessary29.3%
Don’t know11.4%

Q7: If you were to have a pet that died, would you contact a pet funeral business? (Sample size=1,939)

Think so62.2%
Don’t think so32.1%
Don’t know5.7%

Q8: Do you know about the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals? (Sample size=1,939)

Know it well (to SQ)3.6%
Know something about it (to SQ)26.9%
Just heard the name27.1%
Never heard of it41.4%
Don’t know1.0%

Q8SQ: Which of the following do you know about regarding the law? (Sample size=591, multiple answer)

Pet owners are ultimately responsible for their pets79.7%
There are fines for animal abuse and abandoment64.3%
Owners are obliged to have their pets identifiable45.9%
Pet shop staff are obliged to describe correct handling for pets to purchasers35.2%
There are regulations regarding cat and dog breeding28.4%
In order to teach correct animal care, there are regulations regarding establishment of animal welfare promotion officers, organisations18.4%
Don’t know1.4%

Q9: In order to promote pet welfare and correct pet care, what do you think that local and national government should do? (Sample size=1,939, multiple answer)

Strengthen regulation, guidance for errant owners57.3%
Strengthen regulation, guidance for pet shops, breeders, etc47.9%
Publicise through television, newspapers, posters, etc pet welfare and responsible caring37.0%
Offer sufficient opportunities for learning at school, in society about pet welfare and responsible caring35.5%
Offer sufficient official consultation facilities regarding pet welfare and responsible caring31.6%
Hold events to deepen the understanding of pet welfare and responsible caring29.1%
Support activities of volunteer organisations that promote pet welfare and responsible caring26.4%
Nurture private consultation specialists regarding pet welfare and responsible caring22.6%
Increase public facilities for interaction with pets22.0%
Nothing in particular5.3%
Don’t know3.0%
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