A Tokyo animal rights group requested Aug. 29 that the government discontinue the practice of keeping rabbits and other animals at primary schools.
JAVA, the Japan Anti-Vivisection Association, urged the government to abolish rabbit cages and other facilities imprisoning small animals at schools. The group cited a proliferation of animal killings and cruelty to animals in schools, especially since media coverage of animals killed by a 15-year-old Kobe murder suspect.
In a letter addressed to the Education Minister Takashi Kosugi, the organization cited a lack of adequate supervision and requested that children be taught to appreciate life through a means other than keeping animals at school. If abolishment of the current system is not possible, the organization asked that a system be introduced to protect the animals from cruelty and that they not be allowed to breed.
Specific cases of cruelty included the maiming, blinding and murder of rabbits in front of students. Most of the cases involved adults from outside the school.