I just saw a Facebook video about animal cafes in Japan, like cat cafes and even owl cafes. How do you feel about these? I honestly wonder how well taken care of they are.
My general gut response is to start screaming about the lack of biosafety. Like, there’s a reason animals aren’t allowed in areas that do food preparation - I’m sure you could have a rigorous cleaning schedule and make religiously sure that people who do food prep are really carefully separated from the animal areas but… ehhh…. it just still sounds pretty gross.
From a behavior standpoint, well-done cat cafes can function like meet-the-cats shelter spaces and do help with adoptions. They need to be well run with attention to giving the cats breaks and making sure they’re not overwhelmed, but they can be good. I haven’t been to any and it’s kind of hard to parse that information from websites (especially non-american ones) so I can’t say either way if that’s something they do.
Owl cafes are a different matter - the short answer is no, why, stahp. They’re nocturnal predators with no domestication who have no inherent affiliative interest in humanity. Everything about it is wrong, stressful for the animals, and unless they’re restraining their feet and beak somehow just like seriously unsafe for the people who go there. They play into the whole anthropocentric “everything should love humanity so it’s okay for us to assume it’s always okay for us to want to cuddle it” crap that’s been really popular in Japan lately.