Actress/sexpert Aya Sugimoto founds organization for animal welfare
ENTERTAINMENT JUL. 28, 2014 - 06:56AM JST

TOKYO —
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.”

Read article HERE

Actress/sexpert Aya Sugimoto founds organization for animal welfare

ENTERTAINMENT JUL. 28, 2014 - 06:56AM JST

TOKYO —

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.”

Read article HERE

McDonald’s Japan halts sales of Chinese chicken items
BUSINESS JUL. 26, 2014 - 03:25PM JST 

TOKYO —
McDonald’s said Friday that its restaurants in Japan had stopped selling products made with chicken from China, in a marked widening of a scandal that saw expired meat sold to fast food giants.

More than 3,000 restaurants across Japan had also halted imports of chicken products from the country, the chain said, as it switched to distributors in Thailand “to address the concerns of our customers”.

“We made this decision in view of the growing concern over McDonald’s chicken products made in China,” the Japanese unit’s chief executive Sarah Casanova said in a statement.

The move came as McDonald’s in Hong Kong said it would no longer sell chicken nuggets and several other items sourced from a U.S.-owned firm in China at the center the scandal.

“Out of stock” stickers were placed on menus around the southern Chinese city over products such as McDonald’s McSpicy Chicken Filet and Chicken McNuggets.

“Prior to concerns being raised this week about food safety at the Shanghai facility, we had already stopped using products from the Shanghai plant, with the last import being in May,” the fast food chain’s Hong Kong unit said.

“There was no product from Husi Shanghai being sold to our customers,” it added, as it suspended all sourcing from the firm’s other plants.

In Japan, the change would affect eight dishes, including Chicken McNuggets and Chicken Fillet-O, it said.

Earlier this week, Japan’s giant Family Mart convenience store chain and McDonald’s restaurants in the country stopped selling chicken nuggets sourced from the scandal-hit plant near Shanghai.

China has been rocked by a series of food and product safety problems due to lax enforcement of regulations and corner-cutting by producers.

One of the worst incidents occurred in 2008 when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products, killing at least six babies and making 300,000 people ill.

On Wednesday, Chinese police detained five people from the unit of U.S. food supplier OSI Group, in a case involving expired meat sold to a host of fast food giants including McDonald’s and KFC.

Shanghai authorities on Sunday shuttered the OSI plant for mixing out-of-date meat with fresh product, relabelling expired goods and other quality problems, following an investigative report by a local television station.

The Shanghai factory’s customers in China included McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King, 7-Eleven convenience stores and Papa John’s Pizza, according to the companies.

U.S. burger chain Carl’s Jr also used its products, Chinese media said.

Sheldon Lavin, chairman and chief executive officer of OSI, apologised and said what happened at the factory was “completely unacceptable”.

“It was terribly wrong and I am appalled that it ever happened in the company that I own,” he said, adding authorities have inspected the company’s other facilities in China and had not found any issues.

His comments appeared in a statement posted on the company’s China website dated Thursday.

This week, the Japanese government said it was banning “any food imports that were processed by the company in question”.

Food safety scandals in China are never far from the minds of shoppers in neighboring Japan, given the countries’ vast trading and business links.

In 2008, 10 people in Japan suffered pesticide poisoning after eating dumplings imported from China, and earlier this year a Chinese factory worker was jailed for life for the crime.

In its last fiscal year, McDonald’s Japan bought about 38% of its chicken products from China, with the rest imported from Thailand, a company spokeswoman told AFP.

“All of our chicken meals are now being made with poultry from Thailand,” she said Friday.

Article source HERE

McDonald’s Japan halts sales of Chinese chicken items

BUSINESS JUL. 26, 2014 - 03:25PM JST 

TOKYO —

McDonald’s said Friday that its restaurants in Japan had stopped selling products made with chicken from China, in a marked widening of a scandal that saw expired meat sold to fast food giants.

More than 3,000 restaurants across Japan had also halted imports of chicken products from the country, the chain said, as it switched to distributors in Thailand “to address the concerns of our customers”.

“We made this decision in view of the growing concern over McDonald’s chicken products made in China,” the Japanese unit’s chief executive Sarah Casanova said in a statement.

The move came as McDonald’s in Hong Kong said it would no longer sell chicken nuggets and several other items sourced from a U.S.-owned firm in China at the center the scandal.

“Out of stock” stickers were placed on menus around the southern Chinese city over products such as McDonald’s McSpicy Chicken Filet and Chicken McNuggets.

“Prior to concerns being raised this week about food safety at the Shanghai facility, we had already stopped using products from the Shanghai plant, with the last import being in May,” the fast food chain’s Hong Kong unit said.

“There was no product from Husi Shanghai being sold to our customers,” it added, as it suspended all sourcing from the firm’s other plants.

In Japan, the change would affect eight dishes, including Chicken McNuggets and Chicken Fillet-O, it said.

Earlier this week, Japan’s giant Family Mart convenience store chain and McDonald’s restaurants in the country stopped selling chicken nuggets sourced from the scandal-hit plant near Shanghai.

China has been rocked by a series of food and product safety problems due to lax enforcement of regulations and corner-cutting by producers.

One of the worst incidents occurred in 2008 when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products, killing at least six babies and making 300,000 people ill.

On Wednesday, Chinese police detained five people from the unit of U.S. food supplier OSI Group, in a case involving expired meat sold to a host of fast food giants including McDonald’s and KFC.

Shanghai authorities on Sunday shuttered the OSI plant for mixing out-of-date meat with fresh product, relabelling expired goods and other quality problems, following an investigative report by a local television station.

The Shanghai factory’s customers in China included McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King, 7-Eleven convenience stores and Papa John’s Pizza, according to the companies.

U.S. burger chain Carl’s Jr also used its products, Chinese media said.

Sheldon Lavin, chairman and chief executive officer of OSI, apologised and said what happened at the factory was “completely unacceptable”.

“It was terribly wrong and I am appalled that it ever happened in the company that I own,” he said, adding authorities have inspected the company’s other facilities in China and had not found any issues.

His comments appeared in a statement posted on the company’s China website dated Thursday.

This week, the Japanese government said it was banning “any food imports that were processed by the company in question”.

Food safety scandals in China are never far from the minds of shoppers in neighboring Japan, given the countries’ vast trading and business links.

In 2008, 10 people in Japan suffered pesticide poisoning after eating dumplings imported from China, and earlier this year a Chinese factory worker was jailed for life for the crime.

In its last fiscal year, McDonald’s Japan bought about 38% of its chicken products from China, with the rest imported from Thailand, a company spokeswoman told AFP.

“All of our chicken meals are now being made with poultry from Thailand,” she said Friday.

Article source HERE