The Sankei Shimbun reported that a team of experts consisting of lawyers and veterinarians in Hyogo Prefecture launched the “Animal Defense Lawyers” in order to speak for the concerns of animals who are unable to speak up and protect their lives amidst a wave of animal abuse. Information provided by animal welfare groups and others will be investigated, and if deemed necessary, criminal charges will be filed for violations of the Animal Protection Law. This initiative is believed to be the first of its kind in Japan, and is aimed at early detection of abuse and preventing worsening damage.
With the enforcement of the revised Animal Protection Law in 2020, ” The penalty for killing or injuring a protected animal, such as a dog, cat, or rabbit, was strengthened from “imprisonment for not more than two years or a fine of not more than 2 million yen” to “imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine of not more than 5 million yen. Veterinarians who examine animals suspected of abuse are required to report to the relevant authorities, and in 2021, the number of cases of violation of the Animal Protection Law that were arrested by police nationwide reached 170, the highest number ever.
Hidenobu Hoshi, a veterinarian and associate professor of public health at Osaka Metropolitan University, and an expert on animal abuse, noted, “Although each municipality has set up a reporting window, in many cases it has not led to detection because of the lack of effective cooperation with the police.
The “Animal Defense Lawyers ” is made up of lawyers from the Hyogo Bar Association and a dozen veterinarians from the Kobe Veterinary Medical Association. They will respond to animal abuse in cooperation with animal welfare organizations and local governments throughout Japan, including Eva, a public interest incorporated foundation (in Tokyo) chaired by Aya Sugimoto.
World Dog Alliance will look to this as a model for lawyers and veterinarians across the country to start working in their respective prefectures!
“Change human society and Save dogs and cats!”