Animal Cafes - A Real Hoot?
If you love animals, then you have probably noticed the trend for animal cafes. More and more of these establishments are springing up all over the world giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy their tea or coffee in the company of a variety of furry friends. Most of these cafes feature cats and dogs but now their popularity has led to the opening of several venues in Japan which are dedicated to Owls.
Good Luck but Not for The Owls
Owls are a symbol of good luck in Japan but this is not a fortunate situation for the birds. The many cafes in the country which now feature owls are hugely popular and often fully booked. But the treatment of the animals is questionable. Owls are nocturnal birds and life in the cafes disrupts their sleep patterns. Their feet are tied to perches and the Animal Rights Centre in Tokyo believes that this constitutes abuse. The birds cannot move freely and so easily become stressed.
Cafes in Japan showcase a wide range of animals from cats to goats and even hedgehogs and are a significant tourist draw. But many have been heavily criticized over the animals’ treatment and this is leading to new regulations to protect the animals’ welfare.
Birds of Prey
Life in a café is particularly problematic for Owls as these birds of prey naturally range far and wide and their exceptional hearing and vision make it hard for them to endure the bright lights and noisy environment of a lively café. They can develop behavioural issues as a result of the stress including plucking at their own feathers, pacing and rocking. Seven owls died in a single year at one of the owl cafes in Japan.
Whilst cats and dogs can adapt to spending some of their time in a café, Owls are simply not suited to this lifestyle. Hopefully we won’t be seeing any similar establishments in the UK. Owls are magnificent creatures and it is always a great pleasure to see them but they should not have to spend their lived tethered to a perch in a coffee shop for the purpose of human entertainment.
If you visit an animal café and have any doubts about the treatment of the animals, report your concerns to the RSPCA immediately.