• Kyodo

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A total of 53 lawmakers set up a nonpartisan animal protection group Thursday, with the aim of abolishing the killing of stray cats and dogs by local governments.

Mizuho Fukushima of the Social Democratic Party, who was named secretary general of the parliamentarians’ group, told the inaugural meeting held in the Diet building that the killing of stray animals is “a pressing issue” and ending it is “the ultimate goal” of the newly launched body.

In fiscal 2013, local governments across Japan took custody of around 176,000 abandoned cats and dogs, of which 128,000 were put down, according to the Environment Ministry.

Actress Aya Sugimoto, an animal protection advocate, told the lawmakers’ meeting: “Our society or country shouldn’t disregard life. I want you to think about what should be done.”

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