Are Animal Cafes Ethnical (Good and Bad)

Japan’s animal cafe scene is unlike any other with less commonly seen: owls, penguins, pigs, hedgehogs, snakes… You name it, Japan has it, but are animal cafes an ethical way to interact with animals?

Animal Cafes have been criticized for mistreating the animals under their care by causing stress, poor environment, and forcing them to interact against their nature. However, these wild animals educate and raise awareness on any potential issue keeping them in the captivity of a cafe could be an issue worth exploring and debating.

We do not wish to shame any reader who may have visited such cafes or plan to do so. Instead, we wish to educate readers who plan to visit the cafe before deciding whether or not they want to patronize such cafes.

To ensure animal welfare is being considered, here is a look at how well animal cafes meet ethical standards regarding their furry friends.

Undoubtedly, these experiences at animal cafes are extremely interesting and novel, and unlikely to be able to be experienced elsewhere. However, there could be some issues that arise that affect how morally upright it would be for us to continue to support and fund such establishments. 

Pros of Animal Cafes Cons of Animal Cafes
1. Raise Awareness and Facilitate Pet Adoption 1. Animal cafes go against the very nature of the animals
2. Shelter From Harsh Environment 2. Causing animals undue stress
3. Raise Awareness about Different Kinds of Animals 3. Poor care and hygiene for the animals
4. A Temporary Home For Animals  

Pros of Animal Cafes

1. Raise Awareness and Facilitate Pet Adoption

Animal cafes raise awareness about pet adoption and also help facilitate adoptions by bringing together rescued animals in need and potential owners. The cafes offer a unique and enjoyable experience for animal lovers seeking something different from traditional cafes and learning about adoption and care needed from the owner.

2. Shelter From Harsh Environment

The wilderness can be dangerous and harsh, especially if the animal was injured. With increasing deforestation, global warming, and other destructive human activities, these unique species are losing their habitats and going extinct every day. Animal cafes provide a safe and secure environment for animals that may not do well in their traditional home.

3. Raise Awareness about Different Kinds of Animals

Animal cafes allow customers to interact with and learn about different kinds of animals. These cafes a close-up experience for people caring about unique animals like owls or hedgehogs that some zoos do not provide.

While such animals are cute and visiting an animal cafe may be enticing and novel, we must practice caution. With these facts outlined above, we hope that readers will make an educated decision when deciding whether or not they want to visit such animal cafes.

Cons of Animal Cafes

1. Animal cafes go against the very nature of the animals

Unfortunately, many animal cafes may put the animals in situations that go against their very nature, which can have adverse effects on their health, both mental and physical.

Take owl and hedgehog cafes, for example, both of these animals are nocturnal. Biologically, they sleep during the day and are the most active at night. However, due to the cafe, they are forced to stay awake during the day when they are picked and prodded by visitors. By affecting their sleeping cycle, these animals may suffer from poor health and will be unable to be well-rested.

Another prime example is the way that owls are forced to socially interact with animals for the entire day. Owls are independent creatures that live and hunt alone. They are naturally extremely antisocial animals. However, they are forced to go against their nature and endure the adoring looks and pets of humans. This will, without a doubt, place this animal in great discomfort, affecting its mental well-being.

2. Causing animals undue stress

The constant touching and stares by humans will also place the animals under a great deal of stress they do not deserve to be in.

In the pictures taken in hedgehog cafes, we often see the hedgehogs curled up in a ball. Cute? Of course! Such pictures, however, showcase the emotional turmoil that we put these animals through. Hedgehogs curl into balls when they are frightened and are attempting to protect themselves. What we humans see as a cute mannerism, is in fact the hedgehog’s feeble attempts to protect itself and confer its right to its body.

Additionally, hedgehogs, pigs, and owls are all animals with extremely sensitive hearing. We can only imagine the pain and suffering that they go through in the cafe: the screaming of excited children, the laughs of adults amused by the animals, and the loud music playing in the cafe.

3. Poor care and hygiene for the animals

In 2016, the Neko No Te cafe, a famed cat cafe in Tokyo, was closed down due to the poor living conditions of the cats. Clearly, every animal cafe is a business first and foremost. Animal cafe owners will always put the financial interests of the cafe over the health and well-being of their animals, which greatly opens up the possibility that the animals may be placed in an environment that is poor for their health. Visitors should be wary of visiting cafes and ensure that they minimally have a clean and hygienic space for the animals to reside.

 4. A Temporary Home For Animals

The main concern regarding animal cafes is that these establishments do not provide the kind of lifetime home that most animals need for their well-being. The environment can also be highly stressful for some types of animals, leading to poor health and welfare conditions. Additionally, there is concern that these establishments discourage more permanent adoption solutions, something which many rescue centers prioritize as it offers long-term safety nets for vulnerable animals.

Japan: Animal Cafe galore!

Many animals that we may never have seen up close before can be found in Japan’s animal cafes. Here are some of the more unique ones if you decide to visit one.

1. Penguin Dining Cafe & Bar

In this establishment, visitors can enjoy their meals alongside penguins, appreciating their graceful movements and cute mannerisms. Additionally, there are feeding opportunities at certain hours, where visitors can feed the penguins.

2. Owl Cafe "Fukurou"

Here, visitors are able to admire owls up close and have the owls perch on their shoulders. Due to the fact that owls are nocturnal animals, they are often difficult to catch during the day and can be observed at this cafe.

3. mipig cafe 大阪店

Commonly only found on farms, this cafe gives visitors the chance to play with mini pigs. They will snuggle and lie on the visitor's lap, napping and nestling.

4. Hedgehog Cafe & Pet Store HARRY Harajuku

These small and prickly creatures can be held and fed by visitors to the cafe.

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