Govt to Study Link between Pet Sales, Behavior Problems

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), January 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Govt to Study Link between Pet Sales, Behavior Problems


The Environment Ministry will shortly start a study on thousands of dogs and cats bred as pets nationwide to provide a scientific basis to the widely known theory that separating dogs and cats from their parents too early makes the animals more likely to develop problematic behavior such as biting and barking.

The revised Welfare and Management of Animals Law that went into force in September last year prohibits the sale of pets "within 45 days of birth," and stipulates that this restriction will eventually be extended to 56 days.

The ministry plans to use the results of the study to provide evidence for the need for the stricter restriction and determine when to make the change.

According to the ministry, puppies and kittens that are separated from their parents too early become emotionally unstable, and are more likely to bite or otherwise attack humans.

Since such problematic behavior can be linked to the eventual abandonment of pets, the ministry wanted to maintain the law revision prohibiting the sale of pets within 45 days of birth until the end of August 2016.

To ease the impact on pet vendors, the sales ban is to be extended in stages, to "within 49 days" after September 2016 and finally to "within 56 days," which is the standard in the United States and Europe.

The timing of the final change is to be determined within five years of the revised law's enforcement.

In fact, many domestic pet shops voluntarily refrained from selling pets until they are more than 45 days old even before the law's revision.

However, the need for the stricter 56-day limit has been disputed, since research in Japan has yet to satisfactorily establish a correlation with the problematic behavior. The link has already been shown in U.S. and European studies.

The study, which will be conducted in collaboration with Azabu University's School of Veterinary Medicine, will survey pet vendors and owners who agree to participate.

The study is slated to begin this year and last for about three years. …

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