Humane Society International / South Korea


Bliznetsov/iStock.com

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—The National Assembly and Humane Society International/Korea have organized a biomedical research multi-stakeholder forum called Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches.

Co-hosting the event are the chair of National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee Minseok Kim, National Assembly members In-soon Nam and Hyun-young Shin, and the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum. The forum is sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Osong Medical Innovation Foundation.

Prior to the forum discussion, the skin irritation test that was recently accepted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will be showcased. This new method was developed using the model KeraSkinTM, funded by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s Korea Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Kyung-Min Lim at Ehwa Womans University and the company Biosolution led this project. Now that the method is recognized as an international standard, it can be used for regulatory testing on cosmetics, industrial chemicals or biomedical devices.

Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches will be attended by representatives from Biosolution, BioToxtech, Korea Institute of Chemical Technology, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Nexel, Humane Society International/Korea and Bundang Seoul National University Hospital. Participants will share opinions on the current challenges, barriers in promoting alternatives to animal testing and what should change to move towards non-animal approaches.

In South Korea, while there are alternatives available, animal testing is still frequently used as the first option in research and toxicology. This is due to the lack of awareness and dissemination of new methods and has resulted in the widespread notion that alternatives are expensive or non-existent. This unfortunately discourages companies from proactively using newer, non-animal testing methods.

Committee Chair Minseok Kim said: “Animal testing replacement is relatively a new subject for health research in South Korea. However, as the technology advances and the general public is increasingly aware of animal welfare concerns, Korea is in a very good position to lead the health research and development that can mimic human responses rather than relying on animal models. I look forward to hearing from industries how we, lawmakers, can support the effort.”

Assembly member Nam said: “While there are research efforts to replace animal testing, we need a system where these research results can be disseminated, and industries are encouraged to practice them. Today’s dialogue is to understand the perspectives from relevant stakeholders in support of the bill, Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, also known as the PAAM Act. Feedback from industries is valuable to continue inclusive dialogue in advancing the current research and development based on humane approaches.”

Borami Seo, interim executive director and senior policy manager for HSI/Korea, said: “HSI/Korea has been pointing out the problems surrounding the absence of strategic development and dissemination plans in Korea. While Korea is renowned for its advanced technology, conventional animal testing approaches continue to be preferred despite growing concerns about their scientific and ethical limitations. We hope to see more stakeholders come together and join the conversation for the protection of humans and animals while embracing emerging technologies that can better predict human biology.”

Forum details:

Date: September 2

Location: Biosolution head office, Seoul, South Korea

Chairperson: Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Agenda:

  • Welcome speech
  • National Assembly In-soon Nam
  • Presentation: OECD validated 3D reconstructed human skin model showcase
  • Panel discussion: Views on challenges and solutions to support alternative approaches to animal testing

Moderator:

Kyungmin Lim, College of Pharmacy, Ehwa Womans University

Panelists:

  • Choongseong Han, NEXEL
  • Jung seon Lee, Biosolution
  • Cheol-Beom Park, BioToxtech
  • Sejoong Kim, Bundang Seoul University Hospital, 3D Motive project
  • Myung Ae Bae, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology
  • Ja-young Jung, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
  • Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Humane Society International and LIFE rescue 65 dogs from battery cages who will seek adoption in USA and Canada

Humane Society International / South Korea


HSI’s Nara Kim rescuing Jindo puppies during the Jindo Island dog meat farm closure.

SEOUL—A dog meat farm on South Korea’s famous Jindo Island, which for more than 20 years bred and slaughtered Jindo dogs for human consumption despite them being the country’s national dog breed, has closed its doors for good after coming to an agreement with Humane Society International/Korea and Korean animal protection group LIFE. The 66 year-old dog farmer Mr Kim, who also runs a local restaurant where his dogs were on the menu, was found by local authorities to have breached the Animal Protection Act by killing dogs in front of each other, after concerned residents reported hearing dogs vocalising in terror on the farm. Instead of setting up business elsewhere, the farmer signed a contract with LIFE to give up dog farming forever and agreed to remove dog meat from the menu at his restaurant.

During the rescue, one of the dogs was found to have a microchip confirming that she is a pure bred Jindo officially registered as a “Natural Monument” under the name Jinju meaning “pearl.” The South Korean government designated the Jindo the country’s 53rd Natural Monument in 1962, nominally affording them protection under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, meaning the farmer could face additional charges.

LIFE and HSI/Korea saved all 65 Jindo dogs and puppies found languishing in small, wire battery cages on the farm. Their fate would have been to be killed by electrocution and butchered for dog meat, and the rescuers were horrified to discover a large pile of collars in the killing area of the farm, each representing a dog who lost their life to the brutal industry. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 other dog meat farms in the country, is campaigning for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat industry.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, said: “All the dogs on this meat farm are Jindos which is supposed to be Korea’s national dog breed.  But instead, these poor dogs have been locked away in filthy wire cages, fed on restaurant waste, denied even the most basic care and any level of human kindness. As a proud Korean I always find it upsetting to see the cruelty of dog meat farms, but it felt especially shocking to see our country’s national dog breed being exploited like this on Jindo Island. I shed tears when I saw the killing area where I know dogs were killed in front of each other. There was a big pile of collars where they were electrocuted. Thankfully, together with our friends at LIFE, we have been able to get these dogs out of that horrible place and ensure that no animals will ever suffer again in those cages. The authorities will also pursue cruelty charges against the farmer. As the Animal Protection Act currently offers little protection for dogs on dog meat farms, it’s encouraging to see law enforcement officials making use of those few regulations at their disposal. But in order to fully crack down on this brutal industry, we will continue to campaign for a ban on the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for meat.”

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, said: “I feel anger beyond misery. We boast about Jindo dogs being our national dog, but at the same time they are on someone’s dinner table. This is a direct example of the duality of humans, but also of the contradiction in Korean society. Is there really a difference between a treasure Jindo dog and an edible Jindo dog as the dog meat traders encourage us to think? The answer is no. They are both just Jindo dogs, almost perfect pets for companionship with people.”

The rescue follows the close of the Boknal summer season in South Korea which ended on 10 August, a time when dog meat soup or “bosintang” is most often eaten, and when hundreds of thousands of dogs bred for meat on factory farms across the country are killed. Although opinion polls show that most Koreans (84%) don’t eat dog meat, of those Koreans who do eat it, 70% consume it over Boknal, in the belief that it can help relieve the effects of the sweltering summer heat.

During this year’s Boknal, HSI/Korea teamed up with vegan chefs and restaurants Baek-rin Ahn, Nammi Plant Lab, and Jung-won Park (Haru Vegan) to encourage consumers to swap dog meat soup for delicious plant-based recipes instead. Each chef devised a fresh, plant-based take on Boknal eating, incorporating many of the ingredients traditionally found in bosintang.

The dog farm rescue by LIFE and HSI/Korea follows last month’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice that an amendment will be made to article 82 of the Civil Law to grant animals legal status, stating “animals are not objects”. Humane Society International/Korea welcomes this proposal but says the deplorable conditions on this latest dog meat farm demonstrate how vital it is that the amended law brings about an end to the cruel dog meat industry.

Nara Kim says: “With the law set to change in South Korea to grant animals legal status as individuals with lives that deserve to be protected, I hope that the time has finally come for all dog meat farms here to close their doors for good.”

Humane Society International/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from certain death from 17 dog farms, who now live with families in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The 65 Jindos from this latest rescue will now receive emergency veterinary care at a partner shelter in South Korea where they will also receive care and nutritious food while they undergo the vaccinations and medical tests required for overseas travel. Once they’re fit to fly, and COVID-19 restrictions allowing, HSI will fly the dogs to North America where they will begin their search for adoptive homes.

Facts:  

  • An estimated 1 to 2 million dogs are kept on thousands of farms across South Korea.
  • Alongside Jindos and mastiffs typically bred for meat, many dog farms also breed Labradors, golden retrievers, spaniels, huskies, beagles and other breeds.
  • In 1962, the South Korean government designated the Jindo the country’s 53rd Natural Monument, nominally affording them protection under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act.
  • Most South Koreans do not consume dog meat, and a growing population see dogs only as companion animals. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), an estimated 6.38 million South Korean households lived with companion animals in 2020, equating to 28% of households.
  • In recent years, there have been a series of crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October that year by the mayor of Seoul that the capital city is “dog slaughter free”.
  • This farm closure was conducted under COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. A veterinarian tests for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”) at the time the dogs receive their rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. The dogs will be quarantined for at least 30 days and health certified again prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements.

Download Photos/Video of the Rescue

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Media Contact:

Campaign launched in support of act to promote alternatives to animal testing

Humane Society International / South Korea


Multiart/iStock.com

SEOUL—Animal protection organization Humane Society International/Korea (HSI/Korea), cosmetics brand Lush Korea and civic group People for Non-human Rights (PNR) have teamed up for laboratory animals by launching a petition to support the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods (PAAM Act).

According to a report on animal testing statistics published by the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, the number of animals used for testing in South Korea was 4,141,433 in 2020. This figure is a 43.8% increase compared to five years ago, when 2,878,907 animals were subjected to testing in 2016. While animal testing is increasing, there is an effort to replace animal testing and introduce scientifically sound alternatives. In Europe and the United States, pharmaceutical companies are already starting to use organoids and organ-on-a-chip models. These technologies can emulate human physiology and are used to test substances instead of animal experiments.

The PAAM Act petition campaign aims to raise public awareness about the importance of promoting alternatives to animal testing both to reduce cruelty to animals and to improve human health. Citizens will be encouraged to participate in signing the petition that urges central government and lawmakers to pass the bill.

PAAM Act was introduced to the National Assembly in December 2020 and is sponsored by assembly member In-soon Nam. The bill is focused on supporting development of new methods that can mimic human biology or using computer-based approaches while moving away from relying on animal models. It also provides a legal ground for collaboration among central authorities to disseminate these developed methods through harmonized planning.

Along with the launch of the petition page, a mini webinar titled ‘Let’s learn about animal testing and alternatives’ will be released through Lush Korea’s YouTube channel in September. The webinar will feature HSI/Korea, Lush Korea, PNR and Jae-Sung Kwon, an assistant professor at the College of Dentistry at Younsei University. The panelists will discuss the status of animal testing, developing replacement approaches and why the PAAM Act is important.

Borami Seo, interim executive director and senior policy manager for HSI/Korea, said: “The PAAM Act took three years of preparation including consulting with relevant institutions and experts. The bill is important in that it stipulates unprecedented, but much needed, initiatives to bring central governments together to put Korea on track for the progress in health research based on more effective, science sounding approaches than animal testing.”

Won Jung Park, ethics director for Lush Korea said: “Considering an increasing interest in ethical consumerism in the 4th industrial revolution era where modern technologies are emerging, PAAM Act is what we need now. Lush Korea has long been supporting work around animal testing replacement. I hope that this PAAM Act petition campaign will contribute to speedy passage of the bill and bring an end to cruel and unnecessary animal testing.”

Anyone can show their support for the PAAM Act petition campaign by visiting Lush Korea stores or lush.co.kr/animalfreetesting.

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Media Contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Global


unoL/iStock.com

SEOUL—The annual statistics on laboratory animal use for 2020 revealed disappointing trends with regards to animal testing in South Korea. According to the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, 4,141,433 animals were used for testing in 2020, up 11.5% compared to the previous year (3,712,380 in 2019). This figure is a 43.8% increase compared to five years ago, when 2,878,907 animals were subjected to testing.

Meanwhile, this week, the Ministry of Justice proposed an amendment to the Civil Law, adding a new clause on the legal status of animals stipulating that animals are not objects. While Humane Society International/Korea welcomes this proposal, the latest animal testing statistics illustrate how much there is still to do at a government level to reduce the use of animals in experiments through effective replacement and reduction policies.

The greatest share of animal experiments were conducted under the regulatory testing category, recording 1,795,709 animals used. In addition, 299,344 animals were used for efficacy testing. This is a 900% increase compared to 2019 when 29,876 animals were used. For industrial chemical testing, there was a 43% decrease in 2020, recording 29,810 animals. HSI/Korea actively defended amendments to prioritize alternative methods in the Korea chemical registration law, K-REACH, which came into effect in 2019.

While Korea is embracing technological advances in every aspect of society, when it comes to research and testing, outdated approaches using animals are favored despite the rapid emergence of innovative, non-animal approaches, including internationally validated methods for regulatory testing. In recent years, human mimetic models like organ-on-a-chip, organoids and computer-based approaches such as in silico have proven to be successful alternatives to animal models and have received attention from global pharmaceutical industries and regulators. These technologies have the potential to improve safety and efficacy assessments and reduce the failure rates of candidate drugs at the clinical stage.

However, running against these global trends, in 2020 the Ministry of Education secured 150 billion Korean Won to build new animal testing centers at nine national universities across South Korea. HSI/Korea has called for this funding to be redirected toward creation of alternative method infrastructures instead. The Ministry of Education denied HSI/Korea’s proposal.

According to the Ministry of Science, Information and Communications Technology’s response to the enquiry on the 2021 budget information for animal experiments and alternatives, 28.6% of the ministry’s budget is dedicated to funding and supplying animal models. This budget enquiry was requested by Member of National Assembly, Ik-pyo Hong, at the Science, Information and Communications Technology Committee. Only 1.36% of the budget was allocated for the development of state-of-the-art human-based technology instead of animal models.

Assembly member Ik-pyo Hong said: “The 2020 statistics show how little attention has been paid to advance research technologies without involving animal suffering. The objective of developing methods that emulate human physiology, is to find more accurate and effective ways for treating human diseases and conditions. In addition, it is our responsibility as a society to adopt more compassionate approaches for animals. I believe we can do more to support this modern science and move away from animal testing. Ultimately, it is better for humans and animals.”

Borami Seo, senior policy manager for HSI/Korea said: “While public interest in animal protection gathers unstoppable momentum, over 10,000 animals died every day in 2020 in Korean laboratories. The science community and central ministries need to move away from the outdated and unscientific notion that more animal experiments are better. We need to bring public and private stakeholders together around a consensus strategy to develop, disseminate and apply non-animal, cutting-edge technologies.”

Last December, Assembly member In-soon Nam introduced a new bill entitled ‘Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods.’ It aims to bring central government ministries, research and testing stakeholders together for strategic planning to advance scientific research without animal testing. The bill is currently awaiting its review at the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee.

Read the official 2020 lab animal statistics in Korean

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Media Contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Gyul Han/ Weber Shandwick Boknal Chobok plant based dishes

SEOUL—As Boknal – the three hottest days of the year according to the lunar calendar—begins in South Korea, Humane Society International/Korea and vegan chef Ahn Baek-Rin have joined forces to encourage consumers to swap dog meat soup, or “bosintang”,  for delicious plant-based recipes instead. The recipes offer a fresh, plant-based take on Boknal eating, incorporating many of the ingredients traditionally found in bosintang, often eaten to beat the heat, to help citizens stay cool during the hot summer months but without contributing to the suffering of dogs reared in barren cages on dog meat farms.

Although opinion polls show that the majority of Koreans (84%) neither consume dog meat nor intend to in the future, even if they have done so in the past, of those Koreans who do eat dog meat, the majority (70%) consume it over Boknal. Some Koreans believe dog meat soup can help relieve the effects of the sweltering summer heat and humidity and revive stamina. Between 1 and 2 million dogs are still bred annually across the country in unsanitary and inhumane conditions in thousands of dog farms, most of whom will be slaughtered for the summer Boknal.

HSI/Korea’s My Healthy Diet campaign is promoting three plant-based recipes to be published on HSI/Korea’s social media platforms on Chobok (start of summer), Jungbok (mid-summer), and Malbok (the end of summer). The dishes have been devised by vegan chefs Ahn Baek-Rin and two other chefs to be revealed during Boknal, using fresh seasonal vegetables. Unlike bosintang, the plant-based recipes don’t require hours of boiling and cooking, so are quick and easy to make, a time saving advantage that will appeal to busy home cooks.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, says, “Although most South Koreans don’t eat dog meat, it still remains popular for some Koreans over the summer months, when the vast majority of dogs farmed for meat will be slaughtered. It’s a sad fact that millions of dogs are suffering miserable lives on dog meat farms largely to produce soup for Boknal. So our message is simple, by swapping bosintang for one of our delicious plant-based soups, we can keep cool and eat healthy while saving our canine friends at the same time. I have been to many dog meat farms, and I believe that if consumers saw the unsanitary and inhumane conditions that I see, they would not wish to eat bosintang anymore. We all strive to eat healthier these days, and so our easy recipes are ideal to help us beat the heat and spend a refreshing summer. If we all make compassionate food choices for Boknal, we can achieve an end to the dog meat industry.”

Chef Ahn Baek-Rin, who developed the first recipe for Chobok on 11th July, currently manages Millennial Dining restaurant in Seoul, preparing vegetarian dishes using diverse, organic and local ingredients to deliver rich tastes and flavours. Her Chobok recipe called “Self-care soup” combines a broth made with boshin soup sauce, vegetables and cashews, with shiitake, pine and lion’s mane mushrooms, and a sauce made with Korean chilli paste, sesame oil, soya sauce and paprika.

Chef Ahn says, “On this coming Chobok, HSI/Korea and I will introduce a new dish called ‘Self-care Soup’ that not only takes care of our health, but of our planet and the animals as well. It will be a mutually-beneficial dish, and it will be a perfect solution for Boknal, as it is full of essential vitamins and nutrients from seasonal vegetables. They provide a great way to boost our nutrient intake and ensure we eat enough vegetables. The ‘My Healthy Diet’ campaign is a fresh new take on Boknal eating, perfect for those who originally ate dog meat for Boknal because this recipe is carefully designed so that anyone can take care of their health with quality food.”

As well as protecting animal welfare, eating plant-based for Boknal also has human health benefits. Laboratory tests have found that an alarming amount of dog meat can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli as well as antibiotics used to combat sickness in dogs due to the low welfare conditions on farms. With the link between low welfare animal breeding and the spread of zoonotic diseases such as bird flu and SARS, swapping dog meat for plant-based alternatives is a sound choice for public health, too.

Humane Society International/Korea, which has worked co-operatively with farmers to close down 17 dog meat farms in South Korea, is campaigning for legislation in the country to end the dog meat trade. The organization helps dog meat farmers transition to more humane and profitable businesses. A recent opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade, compared to just 34.7% in 2017.

Download images of the Chobok vegan dish

Download images of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm rescues

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International


Dog on a dog meat farm
Jean Chung

SEOUL—Korean animal protection groups have joined forces to save 50 dogs from being euthanised on a dog meat farm in Yongin city after the facility was closed down by the authorities. The dogs were found by the rescuers locked up in barren metal cages without water or proper food, after the four farmers running the farm had moved off the property following a demolition order by local officials. The farm had been operating in breach of the national Animal Protection Act. Humane Society International/Korea, LIFE, KoreanK9Rescue and Yongin Animal Care Association stepped in and worked together with the local authorities to save the dogs so that the structures could be demolished.

In addition to spending their lives in the misery of a small cage, some of the dogs were caged next to the slaughterhouse on site, and were clearly traumatised from watching and hearing dogs being killed. All the dogs—jindos and mastiffs, breeds often promoted as “meat dogs” by the industry—plus “Tiny Tim”, the farmer’s small pet terrier who he relinquished, are now receiving veterinary care and vaccinations, and will all eventually be flown to HSI’s temporary shelters in the United States and Canada to find adoptive families.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, said “These dogs really needed our help because they would have been euthanized by the authorities without a rescue plan. We knew we had to act fast to save them, so it was wonderful that HSI, LIFE, KK9K and YACA all worked so well together as a team to get these dogs out. These efforts show how much passion there is in South Korea to end the dog meat industry. These dogs were in a pitiful state, skinny and frightened and existing in terrible conditions. It was shocking to see the slaughter area on site too with abandoned electrocution equipment and knives. I am horrified to think how many dogs lost their lives there. The sooner we can end the dog meat industry, the sooner we can see an end to such pitiful scenes of animal suffering.”

Many of the dogs were suffering from malnutrition as well as painful skin diseases and sore feet due to standing on the wire cage floor. Others had also been left with painful and untreated head and ear wounds. A number of the animals were extremely afraid of people, left tightly curled up and trembling in the back of the cage.

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, said: “It has been 30 years since the Animal Protection Act was established in Korea, however still so many animals are not protected properly. Government officials should make and implement policies to ban the slaughter of dogs for food. We should no longer subject this misery on future generations of dogs.”

Hyun Yu Kim, founder of KoreanK9Rescue, said: “It is significant that all these dogs are being given the chance of a new life instead of being euthanized or killed at the slaughter house. However, there are still countless dogs out there bred for meat who are still suffering. We are calling for urgent action from the government to introduce laws to ban the dog meat trade and protect dogs like these.”

Miyeon Ki, Yongin Animal Care Association, said: “I am overwhelmed by this life-saving mission for the 50 dogs who have escaped first the crisis of brutal slaughter for dog meat and then the threat of death by euthanasia, but have dramatically found a chance to live again. I think the effort to save lives in any difficult situation is the faith of animal rescue group.”

Yang-Jin Cho, Animal Protection Division, Yongin city said: “The city officials really felt bad for these dogs and hoped that something could be arranged to give the dogs the best chance. So we are really happy that these animal groups were able to help and give the dogs a future.”

Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 dog meat farms in the country, is campaigning for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat trade. A recent opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with nearly 84% of South Koreans saying they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade.

Facts:

  • An estimated 2 million dogs are kept on thousands of farms across South Korea.
  • Most South Koreans do not consume dog meat, and a growing population see dogs only as companion animals.
  • Although not part of the culinary mainstream for most people, dog meat is most popular during the Bok days of summer spanning July and August, based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • Recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. In November 2019 a Supreme Court found that a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs was in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on electrocution as a killing method.
  • This farm closure was conducted under COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue here.

*Nielsen online research conducted August/September 2020. Total sample size 1,000 people across six major cities in South Korea (Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan) weighted and representative of South Korean adults (aged 18+).

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Media contacts:
United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

International experts to discuss ‘3D Tissue Chip and Micro-physiological Systems: from development to regulatory adaptation’

Humane Society International / South Korea


Andrei Tchernov/iStockphoto 

SEOUL—Cutting-edge advances in 3D organ-chip technologies will be discussed at an online symposium hosted by Humane Society International/Korea and 3D-MOTIVE project group. Titled ‘3D Tissue Chip and Micro-physiological Systems: from development to regulatory adaptation’, the virtual R&D and business strategy symposium takes place on 5 March.

The symposium will explore current scientific and research funding initiatives to advance non-animal predictive models for medical research and testing using human organ-chip micro-physiological systems. It will also explore the vision for strategic cooperation from developers to end-users to implement and utilise advanced human-based technologies instead of animals for pre-clinical testing.

Professor of nephrology at Seoul National University Hospital, Sejoong Kim, who leads the 3D-MOTIVE project, said “There is an increasing interest in developing new drug development platforms using multi-organ tissue chips. To get these newly developed methods approved by regulatory authorities to replace animal testing, close collaboration with related stakeholders is important. This symposium will provide the opportunity to share international efforts and to discuss strategic plans for Korea.”

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea’s interim executive director and senior policy manager for research and toxicology, said “For effective approaches for new drug discovery, science is increasingly moving away from animal models and applying human-relevant technologies. In December 2020, we saw the introduction of a relevant legislative proposal, the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods. If passed, this measure will provide a legal framework to support collaborative efforts across central authorities and provide support for long-term funding shifts toward non-animal approaches. I hope that our symposium will accelerate much-needed discussion on regulatory acceptance of cutting-edge technologies to replace animal testing methods”.

Agenda:

  • Chair by Sejoong Kim and Young-Jae Cho, professor at Seoul National University Hospital
    • Organ-Chip technology and regulatory progress
  • Dr Kyung Jin Jang, VP of Technology Implementation and Field Science, Emulate, US
    • Micro-physiological systems—from scientific models towards industry adoption and regulatory acceptance of qualified assays
  • Prof Uwe Marx, CSO & Founder, TissUse, Germany
    • US interagency organ-on-a-chip (OOC) development program: from funding to qualification for regulatory acceptance
  • Dr Suzanne Fitzpatrick, FDA, U.S.
    • Global standardization process for tissue chip techniques
  • Dr Sun-Ju Ahn, Institute of Quantum Biophysics, Sungkunkwan University, Korea
    • Introduction to the Act on the Promotion of Development, Distribution and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods
  • Borami Seo, Interim Executive Director/Senior Policy Manager for HSI/Korea
    • Industry’s role for OOC development and regulatory applications
  • Dr Adrian Roth, Roche, Switzerland

Register for the online symposium and learn more.

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Media contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

South Korea could become a world leader in non-animal research, says HSI/Korea

Humane Society International / South Korea


sidsnapper/iStock.com

SEOUL— South Korea is well-positioned to become a world leader in non-animal research technologies, with its consideration of a new legislative bill that would require regulatory and research funding ministries to promote the development and use of methods that replace animal research.

The proposed Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, led by National Assembly member Ms. In-soon Nam and 15 other politicians, and championed by animal protection leader Humane Society International/Korea, would prioritize human-mimetic technologies to modernize and improve human health research and product safety testing.

HSI began advocating for this legislation in 2018 in response to a lack of coordinated effort by governments and stakeholders to proactively promote and use alternative methods. In addition, 2019 government statistics revealed a shocking rise in the number of animals subjected to experiments. A total of 3,712,380 animals were used in South Korea in 2019, with an alarming 187% increase in animal use for testing insecticides and a 115% increase in the number of animals used to test industrial chemicals. Internationally recognised non-animal methods are not well promoted by government or embraced by industry in South Korea, with many laboratories simply ignoring them. The slow adoption of superior testing methods is further complicated by the lack of channels to communicate, collaborate and coordinate efforts towards state-of-the-art human-based technologies.

The bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Nam, said: “As a member of the health and welfare committee, I believe that this bill marks a much-needed initiative in our society to finally move away from relying on old models that use animals and collectively move forward to provide better research approaches based on human biology, which will advance public health as well as animal welfare.”

Nam’s proposed legislation promotes human-focused science and technology and defines ‘alternatives to animal testing methods’ as prioritizing full animal replacements. It also establishes a committee to set procedures for collaboration with other central authorities to develop, disseminate and use non-animal methods.

The proposed law is also likely to be popular with South Korean citizens. A recent opinion poll by Realmeter and commissioned by HSI/Korea shows that 80% of Koreans want to see their tax money spent on supporting advanced non-animal approaches such as human organ-mimics and tests using human-derived cells instead of experiments on mice, monkeys and dogs.

HSI championed the idea of draft legislation in collaboration with the lawyers’ group, PNR, and held a series of consultations with stakeholders. In 2019, at a first public forum in South Korea, cross-ministerial officials discussed the legislation at the National Assembly. Since then, HSI has participated in a project with the Korea Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (KoCVAM), led by the Korea Legislation Research Institute, to provide policy research to support alternatives to animal testing consistent with the draft legislation. In 2020, HSI and Ms. Nam hosted a second forum to discuss the bill.

HSI/Korea’s senior policy manager, Borami Seo said: “If passed, this bill will provide the legal framework needed to situate South Korea at the forefront of developing superior non-animal methods to better understand and treat human disease faster and more effectively. Despite exciting scientific innovations spearheaded by South Korean companies, such as the development of a human cornea model to replace animal testing, and human organ-mimetic models to develop next-generation 3-D cell technology for drug development, Korea’s regulatory framework is still biased towards the old ways of animal testing, which isn’t benefiting animal welfare or human health. That has to change and this historic bill will lead the way.”

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo, HSI/Korea: bseo@hsi.org

Rescuers said some dogs were so skinny they feared their bones might break when they held them

Humane Society International / South Korea


Nara Kim/HSI Closure of dog meat and puppy mill farm in South Korea, led by Korean group LIFE with assistance from HSI/Korea Dec 2020.

LONDON—Around 100 dogs in a shocking state of neglect have been rescued from an illegal dog farm in Gimpo, South Korea. Local Korean animal group, LIFE, with assistance from Humane Society International/Korea and regional officials, found poodles, Jindos, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, Spitz, Schnauzers and more caged in deplorable conditions on a junk yard farm where they had been bred and sold for both the pet trade and the dog meat trade.

Many of the dogs were suffering from severe malnutrition as well as painful skin diseases due to living in their own faeces. Many were found huddled next to the lifeless bodies of their dead cage mates who had apparently starved to death, while others appeared to have resorted to cannibalism simply to survive, their bowls left empty by the farmer who said he wasn’t making enough profit to feed them. More dead dogs were found stored in a disused freezer on the property.

Korean group, LIFE, negotiated with the farmer to permanently close his farm. The land will be redeveloped by the authorities now that the illegal dog farm has been shut down. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 dog meat farms in the country, provided assistance to LIFE on the rescue day and is also helping them by providing shelter and emergency veterinary care for 40 of the dogs. The remaining dogs are being cared for by LIFE.

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, says: “This is a really shocking example of a common problem here in South Korea, where dogs are bred in the worst conditions to maximize profits. It’s time for South Korean society to impose controls on the breeding of dogs for sale. If we don’t find a solution, this kind of animal suffering will continue. Koreans who are upset to see the terrible suffering of these dogs, need to realise that it is society’s demand for pet shop puppies and dog meat that drives this kind of cruelty. If we can change our behaviour, we can change the fate of these dogs.”

The farmer had been illegally squatting on government land for more than 10 years, and even applied for compensation when the Gimpo city government announced the land was being seized for redevelopment. In the hope of getting more compensation, the farmer bred more dogs even though he couldn’t afford to feed them. Gyeonggi province officials are now investigating the farmer with a view to bringing animal cruelty and other charges.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, says “When I first visited the dog farm, it was too shocking to take in what I was seeing. I have rescued thousands of dogs from many dog meat farms in South Korea, but this place was like hell. Many of the dogs were just skin and bones, and it was hard to find any ‘normal’ looking dogs because their bodies were so ravaged by starvation and skin disease. I was so afraid their fragile bones might break when I lifted them out of their cages, so I was just really slow and gentle. Hardly any of them had the energy to struggle anyway. We got there just in time for some, I don’t think they could have survived another day. I’m so happy that LIFE asked us to be a part of this rescue, it was such a relief to get these dogs out of that horrible place.”

Once the dogs in HSI/Korea’s care are well enough to travel, they will be flown to North America to look for forever families. LIFE is grateful to the Seoul Veterinary Medical Association, Gyeonggi Veterinary Medical Association, Petdoc Korea, Harim Pet food and the ESAC Training Centre for their generous support for this rescue.

Download photos and video of this rescue.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media: whiggins@hsi.org

Shelters in D.C., Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania take dogs for adoption

Humane Society International


Jean Chung for HSI The HSI Animal Rescue Team rescues Baker at a dog meat farm in Haemi, South Korea, on Thursday, October 22, 2020. The operation is part of HSIs efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia. 

CHANTILLY, Va.—Some 196 dogs saved from South Korea’s brutal dog meat trade touched down in the United States to start their search for loving homes, thanks to a rescue mission by Humane Society International. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the rescue effort saw HSI’s U.S. team quarantine for two weeks at a government-sanctioned hotel in Seoul before being allowed to head to a dog meat farm in Haemi to rescue the dogs, which include golden retrievers, a poodle, Korean jindos and mastiffs, Pomeranians, terriers and a Labrador.

Most of the dogs will be provided shelter in the DC area, either directly with local DC-area animal shelters or at a temporary shelter run by HSI and the Animal Rescue Team of the Humane Society of the United States, with assistance from RedRover. The remaining dogs will be taken to our HSI/ Canada temporary shelter in Montreal before placement with local shelter partners there. All the dogs will be evaluated, receive the veterinary treatment needed, and be in warm beds with nutritious food for the first time in their lives. The dogs staying in the HSI/HSUS temporary shelter will gradually move to shelter partners across the US over the coming month.

Organizations taking in the rescued dogs are:

  • SPCA Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (Reinholds, Pennsylvania)
  • Humane Society of Calvert County (Sunderland, Maryland)
  • Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (Fairfax Station, Virginia)
  • Petey and Furends (Rockville, Maryland)

Of the 196 dogs, 170 were rescued by HSI from a single dog meat farm closed down by the charity in partnership with the farmer. The other 26 dogs had been rescued by HSI from previous dog meat market and farm rescue operations but had not been able to leave their South Korean temporary shelter until now due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Dog adoption is not yet widely accepted in South Korea, however HSI hopes that its work to raise awareness about the benefits of adoption and promotion of its adoption success stories overseas, will gradually lead to more dogs finding forever families within the country.

This marks the 17th dog meat farm that HSI has permanently closed down, and coincides with the publication of a new opinion poll showing growing support in South Korea for a ban on dog meat consumption. The poll, conducted by Nielsen and commission by Humane Society International/Korea, shows that 84% of the population say they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% support a legislative ban on the trade.

Key poll findings

  • 84% of South Koreans haven’t consumed dog meat or say they are not willing to consume it in the future.
  • 59% of South Koreans support banning dog meat, an increase of 24% from 2017, with opposition to a ban at an all-time low (fewer than half (41%) of the population.
  • 57% of South Koreans believe dog meat consumption reflects poorly on Korea, increasing from 37% in 2017.

Kelly O’Meara, HSI’s vice president of companion animal campaigns, says: “Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog meat, and support for a ban is growing, there remain thousands of farms of all sizes across the country where dogs of all breeds endure a harsh existence. With fewer people wanting to eat dog, farmers can see the writing is on the wall for this dying industry and so they work with HSI to find a solution that gives both them and their remaining dogs a chance of a new life. With such interest from dog farmers, and public support, we hope the Korean government will adopt this type of approach to phase out the dog meat industry for good.”

Once a taboo subject, the suffering of dogs and the unsanitary conditions on meat farms has received far greater visibility on South Korean media in recent times, contributing to rising support for a dog meat ban. The efforts of local Korean animal welfare groups and Humane Society International’s campaign, including dog farm closures which have been featured on prime time Korean TV and national news, have been instrumental in shining a spotlight on this cruel industry.

South Korea is the only country that intensively farms dogs for human consumption on a large scale. An estimated 2 million dogs a year are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across the country. The conditions on these farms are horrific – most dogs live their entire lives in barren wire cages or tethered on short chains, deprived of veterinary care or adequate protection from the punishing heat of summer and biting cold of winter, until they are brutally slaughtered, usually by electrocution or hanging.

Most South Koreans do not consume dog meat, and many citizens increasingly see dogs only as companion animals. The increase in companionship with dogs, particularly among younger Koreans, has at the same time fostered a greater interest in animal welfare and a decline in acceptance of eating dog meat. With reduced dog meat sales, HSI’s pioneering program works with dog farmers eager to exit this dying industry. HSI permanently closes down their farms, rescues their dogs and transitions the farmers to more humane and profitable livelihoods. The farmers sign a 20-year contract, stipulating they will not breed dogs or any animals, and the cages are demolished to ensure that no animals will suffer on the property in future.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, says: “Every dog meat farm I’ve visited has a horrible stench of faeces and rotting food, but there was something different about this dog farm, it had a smell of death. The conditions were truly pitiful, and when we found these dogs they had looks of utter despair on their faces that will haunt us forever. Many of them are covered in painful sores and wounds from neglect, some have inflamed eyes and peer out blindly from their cage. I feel grateful they can no longer see this horrible place they live in, and when they finally receive veterinary care and can open their eyes, they will never have to endure this hopelessness again.”

Facts: 

  • Recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. In November 2019 a court found that a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs was in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on electrocution as a killing method.
  • At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download b-roll video and photos of the rescue

ENDS

Media contacts:

Nielsen online research conducted August/September 2020. Total sample size 1,000 people across six major cities in South Korea (Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan) weighted and representative of South Korean adults (aged 18+).

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