A recent essay by prizewinning novelist Masako Bando in which she describes killing kittens immediately after they are born by throwing them off a cliff has sparked hundreds of protest e-mails and phone calls, the daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, which ran the essay, said Thursday.
In the essay titled "Killing Kittens" in the newspaper's Aug. 18 evening edition, Bando, 48, wrote that she owns three pet cats and throws their litters off the cliff near her house on Tahiti.
"I am fully aware what severe criticism I may face if I write this," she says at the outset of the essay. "I will probably be condemned as a savage by animal lovers around the world, and people may say I am violating the animal protection law. Knowing this, I confess I am killing kittens."
Bando writes that although she had considered having her cats sterilized, she has not done so because she thinks having sex when they are in heat and giving birth is what life is all about for a female cat. "I have doubts about simply depriving them of their essential life for the convenience of humans," she writes about sterilization.
The business daily said it had received more than 500 e-mail messages and about 90 phone calls as of noon Thursday, many of them protesting and criticizing Bando, a 1997 winner of the Naoki Award for popular literature. Bando says in the essay that she reached the conclusion that she should kill the kittens after much thought.
"Humans are not God. They are in no way capable of doing the right thing about the 'life' of other living things. At some point, contradictions and unreasonableness emerges," she says.
"Humans have no right to perform sterilization on other living things. They have no right to kill offspring. Nonetheless, if - want to raise a living creature as a pet, the owners must opt for a way that makes better sense for themselves,” she writes. “I chose enrichment of ‘life’ for the cats that I have raised and opted to kill their kittens out of a sense of my social responsibility. Of course, I must bear the pain and grief that come from killing (the kittens).”