About

Us

"Aki the Secretary" was a feral kitten rescued in 2015, who needed lots of handling. 

Greetings from the Director of the "Friends With Paws" (FWP)

 

I was brought up in Japan, together with many cats and dogs. This black and white photo was taken 47 years ago - my grandfather, younger brother and me with our rough collie "Meru" whom we adopted after his previous owners abandoned him.  He was already about 10 years old when he came to us, but we all had several wonderful years with him. He gave us so much joy and love, which even to this day, remain in our hearts deeply. 

 

Later, I moved to London to study music, and have lived in the UK for the last 25 years. Due to my music business, I travel back and forth between the UK and Japan, and noticed that there is a huge difference between the animal welfare system and pet culture of the two countries.

 

There is a big pet boom in Japan now. The number of pets surpassed the number of children in the country. There are many pet shops selling "popular pedigrees". Many TV programmes emphasize only the cute side of pets.

Conversely there are over 80,000 unwanted cats and dogs gassed every year. Some abandon their pets after several years just like they change their handbags or cars. Some cannot take care of their pets any more as they need to move to old people's houses.

 

Many puppies and kittens unsold in pet shops or born disabled due to unethical breeding practices, as well as mother dogs and cats used as breeding machines until their uterus pack up, they all end up in miserable ways.

Anyone who is interested in these Japanese issues, please read the following newspaper article, although the number of gassed pets is down from 200,000 when this was written to 83,000 in 2015.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/02/19/issues/millions-of-dogs-cats-coddled-200000-gassed-each-year-in-pet-mad-japan/#.WK4K3zuLSUl

 

Many volunteers are working against the clock to save animals which end up in the gas chamber, but there is a limit to what individuals can do. Behind the idealistic goal of "No-Kill", a few charity organizations are said to be struggling as too many abandoned animals are taken in. I strongly believe that we need a better system which can connect all the small organizations, tighter laws, and above all, better education regarding animal welfare to change the mentality of our society.

The UK animal welfare system is not perfect either, as several thousand rescued animals are put down every year (mostly seriously ill/injured animals and illegal fighting dogs). However, they have solid and long lasting systems of animal welfare organizations, nation wide education, many informative TV series regarding animal shelters, and much tougher laws for animal welfare. British societies are also very good at fund raising with many creative, inspirational and fun ideas, from which we can learn so much. 

 

By setting up this brand new homepage, I am hoping to provide some useful information. I would also like to introduce some Japanese activities to British people. It is my dream to make a bridge between the two countries, exchanging ideas and encouraging each other. Standing together, let's make a difference however small it may be. 

 

Haruko Kuwabara

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