Funerals are to be treated and attended with the utmost respect in Japan. However, a particular pet crematorium in Japan seems to have other plans to tarnish such a ceremony. Instead of sorting out their garbage and throwing it out on the right day, the site burnt their trash along with the pets’ corpses.
For the past ten years, animals brought to Owari Hokubu Seien crematory in central Japan have been burned along with trash such as chopsticks, leftover meals, and plastic bottles of water as per Aihoku Regional Crematorium Association, which manages the crematory.
When VICE World News went to speak with the crematorium staff, they mentioned that burning their trash together with the corpses of pets has become a routine for them, and they do it regularly.
“It’s impossible to imagine that they believed that was acceptable,” said Shinji Ito, the association’s chief secretary.
The association claimed that it only discovered the practice on Monday after an accusation made by a funeral service employee via social media. Cremators are employed by Gorin, which is a contracting firm, and could be dismissed for their conduct, Ito said.
“I’ve been told that new hires were taught this method from watching colleagues who’d been working for a longer time and assumed that’s the way they operated here,” he said. This is how it was normalized, the secretary said.
Yukiko Furuhashi, the head of a cat-friendly group in the region, told VICE World News she was horrified by the story. “I’m stunned by the ignorance that permits people to treat all beings, regardless of whether they’re dead or alive, this way,” she said. As someone who’s been helping cats for more than 30 years, she’s told me she is concerned that animals are considered objects rather than living beings.
Based on the Animal Protection Index, Japan is rated as a ” poor performer” in 50 countries by their laws and commitments to safeguarding animals.
Although it’s not illegal to hurt, kill or cause cruelty to animals without cause, the laws don’t guarantee the protection of wildlife. Activists like Furuhashi assert that the direction isn’t clear enough and allows the abuse of animals to continue unaddressed.
The crematory is currently looking into installing cameras inside the facility for employees to be monitored. “But I would like to believe that this will never happen again. I’m sure they were aware that their actions were incorrect,” Ito said.