The Japan Anti-vivisection Association (JAVA) won the Lush Public Awareness Prize in 2012. Here's more on how they fight animal testing.
Could you describe who you are and what you do?
The Japan Anti-vivisection Association (JAVA) mainly aims to abolish animal testing. It advocates animal rights — for example, by campaigning to stop Japanese local governments from killing dogs and cats, and protests against the handling and usage of fur. I have been involved with JAVA since I was a college student, and have been in charge of campaigns against animal testing for cosmetics. I work at a law firm, and as a volunteer at JAVA.
Why were you nominated for the Prize?
JAVA is a well-known group, and has the longest history of protesting against animal testing in Japan. I think that the main reason for the nomination of JAVA was that we exerted a powerful appeal in our campaign on the internationally-hot issue of ‘animal testing for cosmetics’ in Asia, where awareness of animal welfare is low.
Why did you win the Prize?
The JAVA project that won the Prize is called Usagi-O-Sukue, which means ‘Save the Rabbits’. It is a boycott campaign aimed at Shiseido, the largest cosmetic company in Japan, against the animal testing of cosmetics. It was the first time that one specific cosmetic company was targeted by a massive campaign in Japan. We have succeeded in raising awareness of our protests against animal testing among consumers through our energetic activities, such as collecting signatures, performing protest marches, and making appeals at shareholders meetings. Such activities led Shiseido to abolish animal testing, which became the decisive factor in being awarded the Prize.
What difference has winning the Prize made to your contribution to the goal of Replacement?
We think that the award played a very effective role in securing Shiseido’s commitment to abolish animal testing by March 2013, as they had promised. Other large cosmetic companies followed suit, and we are happy to learn that some have declared that they will abolish animal testing. We believe that, in Japan, the goal of a cosmetics industry without animal testing will be realised very soon.
Could you outline how your work overlaps with current Government ethical policy?
The Japanese Government has, regrettably, been hesitant to promote alternative testing methods. The budget for research allocated by the Government has been small from the very start — and worse, that small budget has been cut every year. JAVA has been encouraging the Government to promote the use of alternative methods that do not use animals, and to secure adequate funding and staff.
What does winning the Prize mean to your organisation?
In Japan, all of the groups that demonstrate against animal testing are small, and most of them are in a severely poor financial condition. JAVA is one of them. The prize money from the Award was helpful in allowing us to continue our mission — abolishing animal testing — more actively. Now that our campaign has received an internationally favourable review, it has boosted the motivation, not only of JAVA’s enthusiastic supporters, but also of all animal activists in Japan, encouraging them to pursue their next actions.
Read more Lush Prize winner interviews