By M. Itoh

ISBN-10: 0230108946

ISBN-13: 9780230108943

The japanese executive disposed of “dangerous animals” (not in simple terms carnivores but additionally herbivores, resembling elephants) in zoos and circuses in the course of global struggle II, together with these in Japan’s 3 “colonies”--Korea, Taiwan, and Manchukuo, Japan’s puppet nation in present Northeast China. unusually, the “disposal order” was once issued in August 1943, greater than 15 months earlier than U.S. B-29 air raids on Japan all started. whereas a few ecu zoos additionally destroyed their animals, not one of the experts in Europe enforced the disposal of zoo animals as systematically because the eastern domestic Ministry. No kingdom performed as national and systematic a disposal of captive animals as Japan. This coverage used to be a vital part of the japanese executive propaganda to mobilize the entire civilian inhabitants into overall warfare, instead of for the ostensible objective of public protection.

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For instance, a hippopotamus gulps 100 pounds of potatoes and grass each day, while an elephant consumes 130–150 pounds of vegetables, potatoes, and hay each day. The herbivores’ feed changed from sweet potatoes, to potatoes, pumpkins, and bean bran, to pumpkin seeds. Afterward, the zoo staff began to grow vegetables on zoo grounds for animal feed. Feeding carnivores was even more difficult. A lion consumes about 22 pounds of meat per day. When the government began the ban on sales of meat for two days per month in May 1941, people panicked and flocked to the meat shops.

A lion consumes about 22 pounds of meat per day. When the government began the ban on sales of meat for two days per month in May 1941, people panicked and flocked to the meat shops. Soon meat disappeared from the shops and zoos could no longer feed beef to their carnivores. indd 32 10/8/2010 7:42:25 AM HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 33 or chicken heads. With the decreasing supplies of meat and fish, zoos even tried to formulate meat substitutes to feed the carnivores. 50 In addition, the government requisitioned every available metal, including artificial gold teeth and beer bottle caps, from institutions and ordinary households in order to manufacture military machines, guns, and bullets.

For instance, as the list of endangered species expands, the primary role of zoos has changed accordingly as facilities to preserve species instead of merely displaying exotic animals. As the quotation of Mahatma Gandhi, introduced at the beginning of this chapter, suggests, a zoo is a reflection of the level of humanity, good or bad. It is this author’s belief that a study of war damage to zoo animals is an essential part of war history and war study. Documenting an accurate account in English of what happened to captive animals in Japan during World War II and understanding the reasons why things happened the way they did are the first steps to atone nearly seven decades later for their deaths worldwide.

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Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy: The Silent Victims of World War II by M. Itoh


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