Japan Focus – Guidelines for Responding to Animal Cruelty

The amendment to the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals in 2019 significantly increases the penalties for the unreasonable killing of protected animals up to five years imprisonment or a fine of up to 5 million yen. The penalty has been substantially increased. Meanwhile, the number of prosecutions on animal abuse has nearly doubled in the last five years. 

In order to reduce animal abuse, it is necessary to carry out the law with stricter penalties, strengthen administrative procedures, and promptly respond to suspected cases of animal abuse. On March 29, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) sent a guideline which provides information and procedures to relevant ministries and local governments.

This guideline was prepared to organize the basic concepts, knowledge, and procedures to enable local governments and others to respond smoothly when they detect a situation that could lead to animal abuse, and to take appropriate actions at the scene. The contents are also useful for animal-related departments such as livestock animals or public health departments of prefectural governments, police departments, veterinary medical associations, and other related parties.

The guideline provides detailed explanations of what to do and how to record the incident of suspected animal abuse. A template for a checklist that can be filled out with necessary information attached, and is expected to be actively utilized and to prevent abuse.

To protect animals, please do not hesitate to report to the local authorities or the police.

Full version of guideline: full.pdf (env.go.jp)