Humane Society International/Korea says taskforce is vital to “close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history”

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. The operation is part of HSI’s efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

SEOUL—The South Korean government taskforce deliberating a ban on the country’s dog meat industry has announced a delay of two months in publishing its recommendations. Humane Society International/Korea, which has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korea’s dog meat industry, says opinion polls show public support for ending the industry, with nearly 84% of South Koreans not eating dog, and almost 60% favoring a ban.

Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director, says: “With more than one million dogs a year needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, and with so many dog farmers struggling to make a living in light of dwindling consumer demand, we hope that the taskforce will deliver a bold plan to close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history. As a candidate, President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol pledged support for ending dog meat provided there is social consensus, and opinion polls show we’ve reached a tipping point in public opinion, so we hope to see that momentum for change reflected when the taskforce makes its recommendations.”

The taskforce was established last year to assess social consensus after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. President-elect Yoon has three cats and four dogs, including Tori the rescued Jindo, a breed typically found on dog meat farms.

Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers involved experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

Dog meat facts:

  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body and build stamina during the hot summer, particularly during Bok Nal season across July and August, still holds with some, especially the older generation.
  • Most dogs slaughtered for meat in South Korea are killed by electrocution although some are also hanged.
  • Dog meat is banned (with varying degrees of enforcement) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. In Indonesia, 14 cities, regions or regencies have banned dog meat: Karanganyar, Sukohrajo, Salatiga city, Malang, Semarang city, Semarang Regency, Blora Regency, Brebes Regency, Purbalingga Regency, Magelang city, Jepara, Blitar city, Mojokerto city and Mojokerto Regency. Despite these growing bans, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat across Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Ralph and syringe
HSI

SEOUL—On this World Day for Animals in Laboratories, Humane Society International/Korea is releasing a Korean version of its stop-motion animated short film #SaveRalph to rally citizen and political support for the passage of a groundbreaking new law to advance animal-free approaches in science and product testing.

Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing (PAAM Act). The proposed law is the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods (PAAM Act) introduced by National Assembly member In-soon Nam, stipulates setting up a strategic legal system to prioritize the development and implementation of animal-free approaches  to support advancements in medicine and consumer safety without harming animals.

Featuring an international cast of A-list celebrities including Zac Efron and Taika Waititi, #SaveRalph shines a light on the suffering animals endure in laboratories and engages consumers and policymakers in HSI’s mission to promote science without suffering.

Korean government statistics reveal that 4.14 million animals were used for testing in 2020, yet according to a public opinion survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 70.9% of respondents agreed to the need for an increased effort to replace animal testing in medical and scientific research. A similar survey by Realmeter on behalf of HSI/Korea found that 81.6% of Koreans agreed to the need for legislative support to develop and disseminate alternatives to animal testing.

HSI/Korea senior policy manager Borami Seo said: “Save Ralph is a wake-up call for the public and policymakers that animals are still suffering in the name of science, and we have a  responsibility to do better. Whether it’s testing to assess consumer safety or to study human disease, innovative technologies can simulate human biology more accurately than experiments on rodents, dogs or other animals. We are living in an era that celebrates innovation, and it’s time for Korean research and central ministries to commit to a future without animal testing.”

Additionally, from April 27-29, a #SaveRalph exhibition will be held at the National Assembly, co-organized by Assembly member In-soon Nam and HSI/Korea.

Watch Save Ralph with Korean subtitles and sign the petition online and at Lush Korea shops across Korea.

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo, senior policy manager in research and toxicology: bseo@hsi.org

 

Humane Society International / South Korea


Save Ralph photo with logo
HSI

SEOUL—Twenty-four Korean lawmakers and Humane Society International/Korea are hosting an exhibition to celebrate the stop-motion animated short film Save Ralph and to raise awareness amongst lawmakers about innovative science without animal suffering. The exhibit also urges lawmakers to pass a new bill, Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing (PAAM Act).

Co-hosted by the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum and its members of the 24 lawmakers across political parties, the Save Ralph exhibition is organized by HSI/Korea and Assembly member In-soon Nam and supported by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Osong Medical Innovation Foundation.

Save Ralph, which tells the story of a rabbit used in a cosmetic testing facility, is nominated for the 2022 Webby Awards and its Korean version was released yesterday on laboratory animal day.

The exhibition opening will be visited by a special guest, South Korea’s TV celebrity Sam Hammington, who  has been a supporter of HSI/Korea’s activities for animal protection in the past years. Hammington is joining the opening ceremony to celebrate Ralph and encourage visitors to sign the petition to pass the PAAM Act.

The opening of the exhibition is April 28. It consists of four sections:

  • A screen for visitors to watch Save Ralph
  • Details about the PAAM Act
  • Information about the alternatives to animal testing, a including organ-on-a-chip, human cell test method and 3D printing approach.
  • A display that offers visitors the opportunity to take action to sign the petition that urges the passage of the PAAM Act.

Hammington said: “Watching Ralph’s story left me with many different feelings for Ralph and other animals. I hope many people will visit the exhibition and learn about scientific approaches that replace animals. I’m glad to be a part of this change.”

Hong-geun Park, co-leader of the Assembly Animal Welfare Forum, said: “The Animal Protection Act has recently been revised entirely since its enactment 31 years ago. The amendment included strengthening the ethics around animal testing. Reflecting this positive change in our society, I hope that this exhibition will create an opportunity to raise awareness to pass the PAAM Act for all animals and humans.”

Co-organizer Assembly member In-soon Nam said: “Save Ralph made Mexico become the first country in North America to end cosmetics animal testing. I hope Ralph brings a positive change to Korea as well. Considering scientific limitations to apply animal results to humans, we need to promote the development and dissemination of alternatives to animal testing approaches.”

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea senior policy manager, said: “Ralph represents over 4 million laboratory animals. In addition to the Save Ralph film, the highlight of the exhibition is also the modern technologies that can replace animal testing. The passage of the PAAM Act is important to  support these animal-free technology areas.”

The Save Ralph exhibition is being held from April 27-29 at the lobby of the National Assembly. Anyone with an ID card can enter the exhibition venue and help save Ralph.

Watch Save Ralph with Korean subtitles.

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo, senior policy manager in research and toxicology: bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI

SEOUL—Animal groups in South Korea are urging the newly elected president Yoon Seok-yeol to act swiftly on his pre-election pledge to tackle the dog meat industry. Among them, Seoul-based animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea says Yoon’s election must herald “an historic opportunity to consign the dog meat industry to South Korea’s history books.”

Yoon Seok-yeol of the People Power party, has made several statements confirming his support for a ban on dog meat providing there is social consensus. A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen demonstrates such consensus, 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.

During the 20th presidential election campaign, Yoon was criticised for expressing an often-repeated but baseless claim by the dog meat industry that dogs raised for meat are different from pet dogs. But he later clarified that he is personally opposed to eating dogs and would progress a phase-out plan as soon as possible as long as such an action has Korean society’s support, which polling suggests is the case.

HSI/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms since 2015 and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the dying industry. Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, says: “The election of Yoon Seok-yeol as South Korea’s new president presents our country with an historic opportunity to consign the dog meat industry to South Korea’s history books where it belongs. More than one million dogs a year—from small dachshunds to large tosas—are needlessly suffering on miserable dog meat farms just to be killed for soup. With changing perceptions of dogs as family members, social consensus in favour of a dog meat ban is now beyond doubt so HSI/Korea stands ready to work with the new president to put his pledge into action. Factory farming dogs for eating must become a thing of the past as soon as possible.”

In December last year, the South Korean government set up a cross-ministerial task force to consider a ban on the dog meat industry, following a suggestion by the then President, Moon Jae-in. The task force, comprising of four ministries, as well as academic, dog meat industry and animal welfare stakeholders, is expected to make recommendations in April this year, and Seoul city municipal council is also due to vote on a proposed bill calling for the mayor to ban the consumption of dog meat citywide.

Facts:

  • HSI/Korea helps farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, as well as in the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and five cities and regencies in Indonesia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contacts:

  • South Korea: Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager: nkim@hsi.org
  • United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. The operation is part of HSI’s efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

SEOUL—Animal groups in South Korea are urging the newly elected president Yoon Seok-yeol to act swiftly on his pre-election pledge to tackle the dog meat industry. Among them, Seoul-based animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea says Yoon’s election must herald “an historic opportunity to consign the dog meat industry to South Korea’s history books.”

Yoon Seok-yeol of the People Power party, has made several statements confirming his support for a ban on dog meat providing there is social consensus. A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen demonstrates such consensus, 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.

During the 20th presidential election campaign, Yoon was criticised for expressing an often-repeated but baseless claim by the dog meat industry that dogs raised for meat are different from pet dogs. But he later clarified that he is personally opposed to eating dogs and would progress a phase-out plan as soon as possible as long as such an action has Korean society’s support, which polling suggests is the case.

HSI/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms since 2015 and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the dying industry. Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, says: “The election of Yoon Seok-yeol as South Korea’s new president presents our country with an historic opportunity to consign the dog meat industry to South Korea’s history books where it belongs. More than one million dogs a year—from small dachshunds to large tosas—are needlessly suffering on miserable dog meat farms just to be killed for soup. With changing perceptions of dogs as family members, social consensus in favour of a dog meat ban is now beyond doubt so HSI/Korea stands ready to work with the new president to put his pledge into action. Factory farming dogs for eating must become a thing of the past as soon as possible.”

In December last year, the South Korean government set up a cross-ministerial task force to consider a ban on the dog meat industry, following a suggestion by the then President, Moon Jae-in. The task force, comprising of four ministries, as well as academic, dog meat industry and animal welfare stakeholders, is expected to make recommendations in April this year, and Seoul city municipal council is also due to vote on a proposed bill calling for the mayor to ban the consumption of dog meat citywide.

Facts:

  • HSI/Korea helps farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, as well as in the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and five cities and regencies in Indonesia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contacts:

  • South Korea: Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager: nkim@hsi.org
  • United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/HSI

SEOUL Humane Society International/Korea is encouraged to see reports that Yang Min-gyu, a Seoul city municipal council member, has proposed a bill calling on Seoul’s mayor to create a city-wide plan to ban the consumption of dog meat and promote a dog-friendly culture in Seoul.      

Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager for Humane Society International/Korea said: “We welcome Seoul city’s proposed bill calling on the mayor to devise a plan to prohibit dog meat consumption, and its explicit recognition that all dogs are cherished family members who must be protected from the inherently cruel dog meat industry. As pet ownership rises exponentially in South Korea, so must our responsibilities to protect them from cruelty and exploitation. This proposed bill sends a powerful message to the national government just as its own task force gathers to deliberate a nationwide dog meat ban. We hope that a ban in Seoul will pave the way for an end to the brutal dog meat industry across the country, in line with public sentiment and national and global trends.” 

The proposed bill calls upon the mayor of Seoul to chart a course to ban dog meat eating and to promote a city-wide culture of dog welfare. As dog meat consumption and trade is not explicitly prohibited in South Korean national law, the municipal action is needed. According to research by Nielson Company Korea commissioned by HSI/Korea, Seoul has an estimated 436 dog meat restaurants in 2020.   

In November 2021, the South Korean government announced its plan to set up a task force to consider a ban on the eating of dog meat. The joint announcement by government ministries came after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. The task force is expected to make recommendations on next steps in April this year.   

Since 2015 HSI/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry.  

Facts:  

  • HSI/Korea helps farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.  
  • A 2020 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.  
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.  
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.  
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.  

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contacts:

· South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

· USA: Melissa Smith, mmsmith@humanesociety.org

HSI/Korea has saved almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has announced its plan to set up a task force to consider a ban on the eating of dog meat. The joint announcement by government ministries comes after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. The task force will include officials, civilian experts and stakeholder representatives, who will make recommendations on next steps to take and ways to end dog meat consumption. The discussions are expected to continue until April 2022.   

The news is welcomed by Seoul-based animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Korea as a crucial step, but the organisation hopes for decisive action to end both the suffering of animals and the struggles of dog farmers. Since 2015, HSI/Korea has rescued almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry.  

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, says: 

“As someone who has visited many dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor, deprivation, and physical and mental trauma endured by the dogs, I dream of the day when this cruel industry will be consigned to South Korea’s history books. I really hope that this taskforce is a crucial step towards that goal, and HSI/Korea stands ready to contribute our expertise in dog meat farm closures and dog welfare. With more than a million dogs every year enduring excruciating suffering and brutal deaths and with many dog farmers struggling to make a living due to dwindling consumer demand, this taskforce must deliver a bold outcome that brings relief to all. Of course the dog meat association will oppose it, that’s to be expected, but the truth is that the market for dog meat is now so small, most dog farmers know there is no future in it and so it would be far better to launch a government-supported phase out. HSI/Korea has helped many farmers leave the dog meat industry behind them and switch to more sustainable and humane livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”  

Download video and photos of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.  

Facts:  

  • HSI/Korea helps farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.  
  • A 2020 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.  
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.  
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.  
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.  

ENDS 

Media contact:  

News welcomed by HSI/Korea, which has saved almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has announced that the cabinet will launch a formal discussion next week on how to proceed with actions to address the increasingly controversial dog meat industry, news welcomed by Humane Society International/Korea which has rescued almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry. Of the almost 2,500 dogs that HSI has rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade, 30 dogs now live in happy homes in the United Kingdom, with the majority adopted out in the United States and Canada.

This announcement issued by the Office for Government Policy Coordination, follows President Moon’s suggestion in September that it could be time for the country to consider a ban on dog meat. Next week’s discussion, reported to be presided over by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, will be the first time the cabinet is known to have held a formal meeting on the issue of dog meat.

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, lives in Seoul with her two dog meat farm rescues, Blondie and Claire. She has visited dozens of dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor and deprivation as well as the physical and mental trauma experienced by the dogs.

Nara Kim says: “South Korean society has struggled to come to terms with the difficult reality of dog meat for many decades, but we’re at a tipping point now where people care deeply about animal welfare and cannot reconcile that concern with a tolerance of dog meat. When I was a child growing up, nobody really spoke about dog meat farms, but that’s definitely changed in recent years. Most Koreans don’t eat dog meat, and certainly most young Koreans are horrified by the idea. I don’t think anyone really understands quite how dreadful dog meat farms are though, because it’s so rare for anyone to see inside them like I have. It really is a hellish existence for these animals.”

HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm program helps dog farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal and family pressure to get out of farming dogs, amidst growing concerns for animal welfare, with over six million pet dogs now being raised in Korean homes. As demand for dog meat dwindles in South Korea, it is also increasingly challenging for farmers to turn a profit.

Nara Kim adds: “I’ve spent many hours talking with the dog farmers. They often tell me that it’s almost impossible to make a profit because the market for dog meat is now so small, but they don’t know how to do something different. They know there is no future in this industry, and so ignoring or resisting that reality is really just condemning both farmers and dogs. HSI/Korea’s work shows how it’s possible to support farmers in switching to other livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”

A 2020 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. Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.

Download here video and photos of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action: https://newsroom.humanesociety.org/fetcher/index.php?searchMerlin=1&searchBrightcove=1&submitted=1&mw=d&q=SKFarm16Rescue0520

Facts:

  • Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.

ENDS

Media contact: HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org +44 (0)7989 972 423

A leap forward for both animals and humane science

Humane Society International / South Korea


iStock.com

SEOUL—South Korea’s Ministry of Environment introduced its “2030 Chemical Safety and Animal Welfare vision” last month with the aim of vastly increasing the use of non-animal test methods in what animal protection NGO Humane Society International/Korea welcomes as a leap forward for both animals and humane science. The Ministry’s new vision calls for increased acceptance of non-animal methods with a goal of more than 60% of data use for chemical assessment by 2030 to be using non-animal methods. The new vision emerged from a task force created earlier this year by the Ministry. This task force comprised government officials as well as representatives from HSI/Korea, chemical consulting companies, toxicology institutes and testing companies.

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea’s interim executive director and senior policy manager, says: “Chemical testing is one of the main drivers of animal use in Korea even though more modern methods are available that don’t use animals and are more accurate and real-world predictive for people. We applaud the Ministry of Environment for its leadership in laying out an ambitious vision for both chemical safety and animal welfare, a doubly valuable proposition. We hope that Korean chemical manufacturers and testing facilities will embrace this vision to make it a reality.”

South Korea’s chemical laws—the Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (known as Korea REACH) and Korea Chemical Products and Biocides Safety Act—were amended in 2018 and 2020, respectively, to include clauses for the adoption of alternatives to animal tests. However, momentum from government and local industry has been lacking. HSI/Korea, which works with both policy makers and industry to advance the replacement of animals in science, hopes the introduction of MOE’s Animal Welfare Vision will provide renewed impetus for change.

Professor Seung Min Oh at Hoseo University, who led the Ministry’s roadmap project to promote alternatives and the task force discussion, said, “The importance of cost and time-effective predictive toxicity assessment is increasing in producing chemical information. As well as alternative methods, we need more trained experts to handle non-test approaches such as adverse outcome pathways and read-across toxicity predictions. The Ministry of Environment’s vision will help provide support for these areas and is an important step to advance alternative approaches to animal testing in South Korea.”

The Ministry’s vision aims to increase acceptance of chemical assessment data produced using non-animal methods by more than 60% by:

  • Recruiting more people qualified to interpret data produced using non-animal methods, establishing a new team with staff members to handle tasks focusing on non-animal methods.
  • Adopting a new definition of alternatives to animal testing meaning specifically non-animal test methods or non-animal approaches. Traditionally, the term ‘alternatives’ has included those methods that reduce the number of animals used or refine their suffering, but still involve the use of live animals. This new definition will help move the focus away from the refinement of animal procedures and towards the replacement of animals.
  • Ensuring the prioritization of using non-animal methods for data produced by government funds. Many chemical companies lack the capacity to conduct their own tests, so government laboratories do so. Increasing the uptake of non-animal tests by government-funded labs will hopefully influence larger and better-resourced chemical companies to follow suit.
  • Providing support to establish infrastructure for testing companies certified with Good Laboratory Practice.

Link to the Ministry of Environment’s online introduction to the 2030 Chemical Safety and Animal Welfare Vision (Korean): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r2VrPX_iIM

Humane Society International / South Korea


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