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Actress/sexpert Aya Sugimoto founds organization for animal welfare


Former J-pop star, erotic novelist and television sex guru Aya Sugimoto is already well-known in the Japanese animal welfare community for her strong anti-fur stance, but this year she has taken aim at the abominable state of Japan’s pet industry by founding her own animal welfare organization, Eva.

Last week, she sat down with members of the media to talk about why 170,000 cats and dogs are inhumanely gassed every year in Japan and what we can do about it.

Although Japan loves its pets — currently, the number of cats and dogs outnumber children in Japan’s homes — over 200,000 animals end up at animal control each year. Of these, about 170,000 are put down. And lest you think they are humanely euthanized, think again. To save money, animals are crowded into an air-tight box 20 or 30 at a time and gassed with carbon dioxide, effectively strangulating them over several minutes. Sugimoto describes them as “writhing in agony” during the process.

Of course, this is not just a problem with how most Department of Public Health offices deal with the problem of stray and abandoned animals. It’s also an issue of why so many animals end up there in the first place. Sugimoto lays the blame clearly at the feet of an unscrupulous pet industry and an uninformed citizenry.

Demand has led to an increase in so-called puppy mills, where dogs and cats of popular breeds are produced as quickly as possible, without thought to the health or welfare of the animals. The babies are then sold at auction to pet shops, often before they are eight weeks old, long before experts recommend removing them from their mother and siblings. This has been shown to cause behavioral problems later in life. Pet shops then display the kittens and puppies in little window showcases. Until recently, they were even allowed to do this 24 hours a day. Animals that are not sold while they are still young often end up abandoned or turned over to the pound, which of course means they will probably end up in the aforementioned gas chambers.

Sugimoto also says the industry helps to create irresponsible pet owners by allowing anyone who can pay to take an animal home, without having any idea about how to properly train or care for it. They may not even know how big their puppy is going to get, for example. This leads to owners abandoning their pets down the road when they can’t control them or they no longer fit their lifestyle.

These kind of pet owners are not rare, she says, but rather, “they are normal, average, healthy citizens.” There is simply not much awareness about animal welfare or what happens to stray and abandoned animals.

Sugimoto suggested that the answer to the problem lay in educating this public and bringing about changes in Japan’s animal welfare system. From the point of view of the law, she said, animals are things, not living beings. Moreover, the police and other government officials charged with carrying out the law as it exists generally do not know what it actually says. There are no public institutions tasked specifically with the problem of animal abuse, leaving diverse and scattered private organizations to pick up the slack.

With her organization, Sugimoto hopes to work towards “a mature and healthy society where animals and people can live together happily.”

Sources: Independant Web Journal, h/t Hamusoku

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 500 cats & dogs legally killed in Japan each day, but one organization says ‘no more’ -- An Appeal To Potential Pet Owners: 4 Reasons Why You Should Adopt -- 161 Dachshunds Rescued From Abusive Breeder in Osaka, In Need of Homes

© RocketNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Good cause but 'sexpert?'

Keep the clothes on!

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

Glad to hear this. This issue needs all the help and support it can get!

12 ( +15 / -3 )

She is furry

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Will she be working with other great NPOs that already exist like HEART Tokushima or ARK?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hey I'm famous :)

14 ( +15 / -2 )

Big respect to her! Japan needs to start regulating this indistry by putting more controls in place. We owe this to the man's best friend.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

More like 200,000 are killed - sorry state of affairs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A cause well worth the Lady's efforts!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I get the feeling that although many people feel bad when they hear about this, they simply prefer not to know.

I think part of the problem is that there aren't really any hard hitting investigative reporting TV programs (like Panorama on the BBC for example) that can send people undercover into these puppy mills or other controversial places and deliberately set out to shock people's consciences about whats going on. That TV show nani-kore seems to be the closest we ever get to investigative reporting.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think part of the problem is that there aren't really any hard hitting investigative reporting TV programs (like Panorama on the BBC for example) that can send people undercover into these puppy mills or other controversial places and deliberately set out to shock people's consciences about whats going on.

M3M3M3 -- very true. In fact the same could be said about any real social issue in Japan. Japanese people do not like to be shown their society's shortcomings. My hat's off to Sugimoto-san for using her celebrity for the benefit of a good cause.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

It is truly utterly disgusting what goes on in Japan wrt pets & animals in general & few seem to care much. I find the people in the far East & SE Asia typically don't give a damn about pets/animals, the treatment received is pretty abysmal in this part of the world.

Its this type of "thinking" that leads to overeating of tuna, eel, octopus, squid ect etc etc etc etc. as well

Most Asians simply think if it tastes good keep eating it, conservation, reasonable regulations on resources...................sorry totally foreign utterly unrecognizable concepts

-1 ( +5 / -5 )

"sexpert".... first time I heard that expression, but in this case it is spot on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While I do not think highly of her by any means, what she is trying to do and this foundation is absolutely top notch.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Keep the clothes on!

Are you anti-old woman nudity or just a prude?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What she is doing is critical to raise the dismal state of animal welfare or, more to the point, lack of it in Japan. She has been involved in the animal rights/welfare movement for some time. Using her fame in this way is a great way to get the message out to a public who is mostly unaware of the truth. Apathy also plays a major role in Japan.

She has my greatest respect unlike that despicable Ryoko Yonekura who swans around in fur, winning that ridiculous "Furrist of the Year" (or whatever it's called) one year.

I'm encouraged to know that in a sea of inane, vacuous, untalented "tarento" in Japan Aya Sugimoto is prepared to stand up and let her voice be heard. Kudos to her!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Found this site by googling "animal welfare japan". Established 1956. Anybody know abut them?


My wife has told me of a cat in a pet shop, that's apparently stressed as it's getting older and too big for it's "box".

We'd like to help it. Any ideas? (No,we can't keep it, and I don't think setting it free in the wild would help either)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good for Aya... she's high profile enough for her to be noticed in a sea of inane tarento and can hopefully get people thinking. However, Japanese TV, as M3M3M3 said needs hard hitting investigative reporting. I don't mean some cute reporter in a hard hat and a mascot following her, but a respected senior TV journalist who isn't afraid of the backlash, and the full backing of his TV station. BBC's Panorama is a prime example... it and programmes like it helped to uncover so many evilsin the UK and abroad.

Or just send Aya with a camera crew to expose what's going on.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps one of you folk who are so concerned with exposing the "real facts" could kindly share your vast expertise and help me help the cat?

1 ( +1 / -0 )


ReformedBasherFound this site by googling "animal welfare japan". Established 1956. Anybody know abut them

Yes I know about them. My dog came from there. Maybe you could contact them about the cat ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Thanks, I appreciate your advice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I just discovered Aya today. She's lovely!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good cause, but I would rather see someone else. Cannot stand this woman.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Dave, as long as she raises the issue she could be Santa Claus for all I care. Point is she's a high profile celeb, and that can only do good.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Last week, she sat down with members of the media to talk about why 170,000 cats and dogs are inhumanely gassed every year in Japan and what we can do about it.

I doubt any of the lowly journalists just starting out got a shot at this interview. Puppy mills are a pretty sad environment to meet the demand for pets. People like pure breeds but I like mutts. I got both my dogs at the local animal shelter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Point is she's a high profile celeb

I would say she is more of a mid-market celeb.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Good on her for the pet welfare thing, at any rate. I have heaps of friends with pets who love them dearly and treat them better than their fellow human beings, and who truly mourn when the pet is lost. I know others who buy a pet because they think it's cute, then when it grows up and becomes "a hassle" simply chain them up outside or in some pathetic doghouse (I've known at least one couple who drove off and left their cat in a park in another town that is rampant with strays, or so they told me, to my disgust) until they die, probably of neglect. In my old neighbourhood in Japan I used to pass by a house with a dog chained inside a poorly built box where it could just pop its head out, and I would pet it every day (for which it got very excited), and I hated to walk away and head for work. Eventually the dog died and when I first noticed the box was gone and saw the owner outside and asked about it, she said the dog died a few days earlier and thanked me for always stopping to pet him because, "he was so alone". It made me fume, but as she was sincerely thankful and seemed even to show regret I just said I was sorry to hear about the death and went on my way.

Worse than these people, though, are the 'manufacturers' of the pets, who as pointed out in the article just breed them and ship them off as quick as possible, before they have been weaned off the teat, to anyone and everyone, whether or not they know a thing about owning a pet.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think that is a very good idea, no matter who she is or what else she is doing. I may even start supporting that organisation if I can get more information. Honestly when I came to Japan I was shocked when I saw dogs and cats being sold in a pet shop. Although is not prohibited in Germany you will find only very few and shady pet shops that do so (I have kept pets for 19 years and I have not seen one). And no animal in an animal shelter is ever being killed, though we have a horrible pet industry and many people who throw their pets away, too. The shelters are crowded and people there struggle but there is no need to kill the animals, so why is this not possible in Japan as well? Maybe because there are hundreds of private organisations who support homeless pets and pet owners, too? This is really one of the few things I am missing here in Japan and that makes me appreciative of my own country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Keep the clothes on!

Speak for yourself!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, slumdog is correct.

Sugimoto is an artist - let's not restrict her artistic creativity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gogogo gets the win for this one. I really laughed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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