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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2012 Winter Issue]>[A speech like President Obama] Winning the English Speech Contest


[A speech like President Obama]

Winning the English Speech Contest

Ayako Shimatani
1st-year student in the Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University

Ayako won the 10th Alumni Cup English Speech Contest held by the Chuo University English Speaking Society (an accredited club/culture league of Chuo University). Of course, she gave a speech in English. Ayako emerged victorious from among 10 outstanding students who had advanced to the finals. The theme of her speech was "Reasons why I am against animal testing." Ayako voiced the shock which she had felt when she was a junior high school student and learned that animal testing is used in product development for cosmetics. She couldn't believe that animals are sacrificed in order for women to become more beautiful. Although Japanese people love their pets to the point of dressing them in clothing, there is little awareness towards animal rights. "I wish that animal rights activities in Japan were as widespread as in England," says Ayako.

Ayako spent part of her childhood studying abroad. She spent 4 years in Singapore from the 1st grade of junior high school. After graduating from high school, she studied abroad in Australia for 1 year, followed by a 3-month period of foreign study in England. During her time abroad, Ayako compared Japan with the country where she was studying. Her speech revealed doubts regarding Japanese culture.

Skilled emphasis

Speeches were checked by alumni of the English Speaking Society, the organization which held the contest. 10 finalists were selected from 14 total applicants. During summer vacation, participants underwent 2 training sessions at Chuo University. During the training, alumni provided instruction on pronunciation and other aspects of speech giving. The contest was held on October 20th. Ayako spent 5 minutes reading an English speech written on one-and-a-half sheets of A4 paper (right page), making good use of the 4 minute 30 second to 5 minute 30 second requirement of the contest.

4 minute is the same amount of time that figure skater Mao Asada spends performing a free skating program. It is the same amount of time provided for Yokozuna Hakuho to prepare for a sumo wrestling match. In other words, a lot can happen in just 4 minutes.

"The way of speaking is important when giving a speech. You want to speak in a way that communicates your empathy for others. And you want to use easy-to-understand language. I tried to speak like President Obama, who is a skilled public speaker, but I was quite nervous."

10 finalists

Despite Ayako's modesty, she received the following praise from the judges: "Ayako put strong emotion into the important parts of the speech. She showed great skill in her way of emphasis."

Indeed, President Obama is most skilled at appealing his points with emotion. Such emotion is called "passion" in America.

"I didn't know that animal testing was linked with cosmetics," said one man after listening to Ayako's speech. In addition to Ayako's speaking skill and high-level English ability, she was able to clearly convey her theme. Call it a victory for heartfelt passion.

Copy of Speech

Reasons why I am against animal testing

Ayako Shimatani

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, I am here to raise awareness about one of the most problematic facts of the world.

Did you know that more than 10 million animals are used for animal testing every year in Japan? To compare the statistics with something you are familiar with, 10 million is more than the whole population of 23 wards of Metropolitan Tokyo. In fact, the real number of animals used for animal testing is unknown, since there is no obligation for the institutions carrying out animal testing to open up the statistics to the public. Therefore, the shocking number of 10 million is only the tip of an iceberg. Tremendous number of animals are abused and murdered by human beings. Today, I am going to mention two important reasons why I am against animal testing both from ethical and scientific points of view.

The biggest and the worst problem with animal testing is its testing method. The testing done on animals is often extremely cruel and brutal. For example, to test a cosmetic ingredient, poor rabbits are bound so that they may not move, with their eyes fixed with clips. Then, they are applied some chemical substance that will be used to make cosmetics - right on their eyes. They cannot move, scream nor cry. And this brutal abuse is done just to make cosmetic products. Cosmetic products are made for us to look good, and looking good does not directly relate to human survival. Moreover, cosmetics can be made without animal testing, often by using natural ingredients. There are many existing firms that make cosmetics without testing on animals such as Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics - a famous cosmetic company from the United Kingdom and there are testing methods that do not involve animal abuse. Thus, animals are being shocked, made sick, hit, starved, brain-damaged, isolated, poisoned in animal testing and, in the worst case, murdered after all the sufferings for nothing but sick human desires.

Now, I am quite sure some would argue "animal testing is still necessary because it is good for us, humans. Making medicines with animal testing would save so many people's lives!" No. In fact, it is doing completely opposite to humans because the accuracy of the result of animal testing is highly questionable. A group of doctors called AFMA, which stands for Americans for Medical Advancement states that the results shown upon testing animals may not apply to human beings and that animal testing is therefore invalid and unnecessary. Each species differs so that the reactions the animals get from a particular chemical substance may not be the reactions that humans get as well. What we gain from the results of animal testing could only give us a clue or a hint. If the test gives us an invalid result, this means that medicines or other products such as cosmetics and toiletries made through animal testing would harm not only animals but human beings. Therefore here again, animals are abused for nothing at all!

Do you now still think that animal testing is necessary? I think animals also have rights. Human beings are just one of the animals and there should be no superiority in being a human, nor inferiority in being an animal. Animals do have feelings just like us and they have rights to spend their happy life just as anyone else does. They should be treated equally and ethically. Sadly enough, most major Japanese cosmetic firms and many foreign cosmetic firms still test on animals. However, in EU member countries, the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics will be banned in 2013. Animal testing on cosmetics has already been banned in Europe since 2009 and the new law will further ban the companies outside EU to test on animals, including Japanese companies because they will have to stop animal testing if they wanted to sell their products in the EU countries. These decisions of EU show a hopeful path to abolishing animal testing. Why not make the world where animals and human beings all live happily together?

Thank you very much for your attention.

Movement in England to stop cruelty to animals

In the beginning of the 19th century, cruelty to animals was part of everyday life in England. Parliament member Richard Martin found this unacceptable and worked tirelessly to enact a law which would prevent cruelty to animals. An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle, otherwise known as Martin's Act, was enacted in 1822, approximately 1 year after Martin had submitted a draft on preventing animal cruelty to Parliament. Only less than 2 weeks after enactment of the act, Martin fined his two men on charges of cruelty to a horse.

Martin's vigilance didn't stop even after enactment of Martin's Act. He played a central role in founding the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in 1824. The main objective of founding the society was to apply Martin's Act and the society has focused on prosecuting cases of animal cruelty. As a result of these efforts, in the first year after its establishment, the society prosecuted 63 defendants and won 147 cases resulting in guilty verdicts. Afterwards, activities of the SPCA continued to expand, with Queen Victoria bestowing the title of royal on the society in 1940. Today, the society is active globally as the Royal Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

(From the homepage of the Kanagawa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)