4:  Anne’s objective

Anne was a member of the Royal Society of Animal Welfare in England, but was also registered as a member of the Japanese Society of Animal Welfare. Both Societies, having the same objective, were in touch with each other and made Anne’s visit to Japan possible, though she traveled almost completely at her own expense. Beginning with the “top universities” of Japan, she then engaged in educational activities at universities in the Tohoku area, and later came to the university where I worked. I heard that before coming to Japan she had worked in Western countries, where animal welfare policies were still in their infancy.

The experimental animal environment in Japan at that time was a total disaster. Breeding rooms and laboratories had no air-conditioning, so both human and animals stayed together in boiling heat in the summer and freezing cold during the winter. Leftovers from nearby markets and from the staff cafeteria were cooked in large pots as food for the dogs and cats. Since the leftovers were not carefully screened, cigarette butts and pieces of cups were often mixed in. In the summer, the food would quickly turn rancid, filling the room with an awful stench. In such an environment, the dogs and cats we received almost free of charge were not long able to survive and many died daily, even before experiments could be carried out. Often, those that survived and were used in experiments died before meaningful results could be achieved, and were disposed of.

The breeding house for dogs on the rooftop was windswept, with no protection. Some dogs froze to death, while a sweltering heat from the floor incapacitated others. There was not one dog that seemed healthy. Since there was no quarantine system, once distemper or any other disease broke out, infection spread unchecked, and many puppies were lost. This sad situation was reported to the Society of Animal Welfare headquarters via the Kansai Department, by outpatients, inpatients, and people living near the facilities, and a request for improvement was made several times. However, in a situation where rubber gloves and bandages used by human patients were repeatedly washed and reused for experiments, and surgical knives and scissors were all rusted, special consideration for experimental animals seemed out of the question. This situation was not only present in the university I worked for, but was more or less the same in universities elsewhere. If such was the situation in the medical school of national universities, you can imagine what it was like in other universities. Anne heard about this situation in England and simply could not stand still. She just had to come to Japan and see the status of the experimental animals herself, and make any improvement she could.